The UK Royal Navy (RN) has received into service the first AgustaWestland AW101 helicopter to be upgraded to the Commando Merlin HC4/4A standard.
The milestone, which was marked on 24 May 2018 by a visit to the RN’s Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton by the minister for defence procurement Guto Bebb, saw the handover of the first of 25 Merlin Commandos.
The AgustaWestland AW101 is a medium-lift helicopter used in both military and civil applications. It was developed by a joint venture between Westland Helicopters in the United Kingdom and Agusta in Italy in response to national requirements for a modern naval utility helicopter. Several operators, including the armed forces of Britain, Denmark, Norway and Portugal, use the name Merlin for their AW101 aircraft. It is manufactured at factories in Yeovil, England and Vergiate, Italy; licensed assembly work has also taken place in Japan and the United States.
Jane’s speaks to Lt. Colonel Jon Parry, RM, Chief of Staff, Commando Helicopter Force.