Aircraft of the RAF
The Merlin HC3 is the first of the next generation of medium support helicopters for the RAF. Twenty-two of the aircraft have been delivered and all serve with No 28 Squadron at RAF Benson.
The aircraft can be armed with two general purpose machine guns mounted in port and starboard cabin windows, and can be equipped with a wide variety of role equipment, including a rescue hoist and a roller floor to assist loading cargo via the rear ramp.
The Merlin will be the first British military helicopter which can be equipped with an air-to-air refuelling probe to greatly increase the aircraft's range and reduce deployment times. An active vibration damping system reduces the level of noise and vibration inside the cabin to a similar level to turboprop aircraft, reducing crew and passenger fatigue and increasing airframe life.
Merlins of No 28 Squadron deployed on their first operational tour - to the Balkans in support of UN Forces - in the Spring of 2003.
Two general purpose machine guns mounted in port and starboard cabin windows.
Tall, wide cabin tapering into a large tail fin. The underside of the taper is a large rear-loading cargo door (1). The engine housing is prominent (2) and enhances the square look of the main fuselage. The tricycle undercarriage retracts, the nosewheel into the fuselage, the main gear into the two large fuselage sponsons. The forward fuselage is heavily glazed (3). Very prominent at the front of the aircraft is the air-to-air refuelling probe (when fitted).
Date Last Updated : Thursday, March 18, 2004 10:40 PM
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