The first of the Queen Elizabeth carriers early warning aircraft, Crowsnest fitted Merlin helicopters, have entered service according to the Royal Navy here.

The first Merlin ‘Crowsnest’ helicopter will now begin operational training, ahead of the maiden deployment of HMS Queen Elizabeth this spring.

“The distinctive-looking helicopter – a large radar dome or ‘bag’ sticks out from the fuselage, earning the aircraft the affectionate nickname of ‘baggers’ – will provide airborne surveillance and the control of other aircraft (known as ASaC) in the carrier’s strike group. 

The new generation of ‘baggers’ pick up the mantle of the Navy’s veteran Sea Kings of 849 Naval Air Squadron (now retired) – and like their predecessors will be based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, which also provides anti-submarine Merlin aircraft to protect the Fleet. Training by aircrews to use the new system, which allows crews to conduct air and missile defence as well as strike command and control, has been underway since the autumn.”

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Captain Stuart Finn, the Commanding Officer of RNAS Culdrose, was quoted as saying:

“The delivery of this first aircraft at Culdrose represents an enormous amount of hard work, dedication and passion across the defence and industry enterprise. It marks a significant moment for the Royal Navy as we become a carrier task group navy capable of deploying around the world as a sovereign group or with our allies.

It is especially poignant that these aircraft are based here at Culdrose, the home of ‘the eyes of the fleet’, and we are proud of our association with airborne surveillance and control and before that, airborne early warning. These aircraft will work side by side with the rest of the Merlin Mk2 force to provide a world-class line of defence for our global navy, adding above water expertise to our already renowned submarine hunting skills.”

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Andrew
3 months ago

Good to hear there are in service ,well needed especially in the South China sea.

PaulW
PaulW
3 months ago

Just need a few more Merlins now. Otherwise there won’t be enough for the ASW frigates to have their main weapon, as well as cover all the training and reserve assets.

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
3 months ago
Reply to  PaulW

Second that! Good to see them entering service. There was a story knocking about a few months back that there were delays but things appear to have been sorted

lee1
lee1
3 months ago
Reply to  PaulW

I agree and also think we need to use the Merlin to replace the RAF Pumas too. They talk about a new future Medium Lift Helicopter but we already have one of the best ones in the world in the Merlin…

julian1
julian1
3 months ago
Reply to  lee1

The RAF gave its Merlins to FAA – they were felt to be unsuitable for the medium transport role but excel in the martime role

lee1
lee1
3 months ago
Reply to  julian1

Were they unsuitable or too costly?

lee1
lee1
3 months ago
Reply to  julian1

Gp Capt Paterson said: “Today was the end of an era as we bid a final farewell to Merlin helicopters after almost 15 years of operating from RAF Benson.
“It is with some sadness that I watched the final aircraft depart and reflected on the success that the RAF has had with the Merlin.

—-

That does not seem to suggest they wanted to give them up…

Deep32
Deep32
3 months ago
Reply to  lee1

I believe that it had several issues that the RAF didn’t like, one was its size, too big for what they needed, the other issue I believe was the aircraft availability due to the maintenance requirements to keep it flying.
I might well be wrong here, but that’s my understanding…

DaveyB
DaveyB
3 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Yep, the maintenance cost was horrendous. We didn’t initially buy a spares package, so lots of cannibalization of parts and a drip feed of new parts. The other problem was that if any repairs were needed on the composite part of the airframe, it had to go back to Westland’s for a repair scheme, thus costing money and a further maintenance delay. Servicings used to take forever as you weren’t allowed to climb along the spine, but had to use a cherry picker. Iraq was their first use in a conflict, they didn’t do very well and had to get… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32
3 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I seem to remember something about the composite parts being difficult to repair now that you mention it, and some of the other pieces you mention. Can’t for the life of me remember where I read about it though, possibly over on STRN!!!! Slightly off thread, will be interesting to see what is selected to replace the PUMA – AW149/189 perhaps, if the RN is that short of rotary lift, it wouldn’t be beyond the realms to add another 10-12 airframes for RN use, despite costs involved. More Merlin’s would be v good, but we don’t appear to be buying… Read more »

Daveyb
Daveyb
3 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

They had a problem with tail rotor blade delamination. Required a complete new design and manufacturing process to fix.

Johan
Johan
3 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Carbon composite doesn’t flex, like alloy. Crowsnest was creating a vibration that was cracking panels, hence the delay. USN/USMC are finding the same problem with C/C as this is affecting the FORD Class from launching anything with composite parts, it doesn’t like being shot n stopped dead, as the panels don’t flex. they stress n crack. latest is the conformal tanks on the hornets.

Deep32
Deep32
3 months ago
Reply to  Johan

Thx Johan, good to know.

David
David
3 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Quote …”The other problem was that if any repairs were needed on the composite part of the airframe, it had to go back to Westland’s for a repair scheme, thus costing money and a further maintenance delay”. I know what you mean as we had the same issues in the civil side in the 90’s with composite airframe repair (Dash8). I was speaking to some engineers recently and they say that the new aircraft have composite repair schemes and kits to allow them to do them in the hangar so it seems that all is needed is the manufacturer to… Read more »

julian1
julian1
3 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

it doesn’t really explain why they are suitable for the Jungly role though. They may fly from ships but surely in the respect of a beachhead and FOB, they still effectively become battlefield taxes which means the challenges the RAF had are likely to be re-encountered.

julian1
julian1
3 months ago
Reply to  julian1

taxis

Deep32
Deep32
3 months ago
Reply to  julian1

Excellent point, I’ve absolutely no idea why that might be, only that the RAF weren’t really keen on them, real reasons unknown!!!!!

Daveyb
Daveyb
3 months ago
Reply to  julian1

At the time the Navy were desperate for a Jungly Sea King replacement. The MoD/Treasury wouldn’t allow them a new type of airframe. So the RAF were told to hand them over, as they were getting the fat tank Mk3s out of the shed finally and were being retrograded to an earlier avionics standard, which then got upgraded inline with the rest of the fleet. However, the Merlin HC3s were not marinized. So a modification program was used to convert them to folding head and tails. Then marinizing the aircraft’s electrical system. Like I said, the aircraft is ok, but… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
3 months ago
Reply to  julian1

Very true but that isn’t their primary role as compared to the army I guess. They will rarely be in a conflict zone in the way the Chinooks are. That said it might explain why no new builds have been obtained and I am not sure that the updated versions built by Leonado would fit in well anyway as they are so different unless they are still building the original Merlins too though I doubt it. I think it all suggests that while capable for naval use the aircraft is considered too problematic and perhaps too over designed in their… Read more »

TrevorH
TrevorH
3 months ago
Reply to  lee1

I regularly see Chinooks at Benson, and Pumas. Even I can recognise them. Saw a Chinook there doing acrobatics one year. Crazy. One year I saw the Lancaster arrowing over the river…rarely do I have a lump in my throat, but…

Johan
Johan
3 months ago
Reply to  julian1

If the RAF gave up the best medium-lift platform UP, they would have been offered something. RAF has new kit chip on its shoulder.

david
david
3 months ago
Reply to  PaulW

Are we capable of producing more? I suspect the jigs are still available but I guess it would cost a small fortune to restart production.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
3 months ago
Reply to  david

Hi David, If we were to restart production I think I’d take the opportunity to do an update on the design. At the top end of the scale would be to do a similar job on the Merlin as was done on the Lynx / Wildcat, although I think the most cost effective part of the update would be to re-engine to 2 engines. The 3 engine arrangement was forced on the designers through the lack of a sufficiently powerful engine, which now apparently exists. I would also take to opportunity to add an air to surface missle capability of… Read more »

Sooty
Sooty
3 months ago
Reply to  david

AW101s are in production for Norway so slotting in a variant for the UK would not be a problem although the build standard would be different to existing aircraft. There are also those that were surplus to the HM2 update programme.

DaveyB
DaveyB
3 months ago
Reply to  Sooty

I believe Poland are also being set up for production, following the cancellation of the Airbus contract.

Sooty
Sooty
3 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Yes, forgot about that order.

julian1
julian1
3 months ago
Reply to  david

there are about 8 airframes left over – heavily cannibalised and uneconomic to rebuild apparently – but I still think it would create the needed capacity without resorting to a new type and doubling up on supply chain etc

Daveyb
Daveyb
3 months ago
Reply to  julian1

I don’t believe that, as the HM1 frames have been stripped of anything useful, so are basically now a blank canvas. If there was a will and some cash, they could be rebuilt as HM3s or as dedicated Crowsnest aircraft.

dan
dan
3 months ago

Is too bad the RN can’t have something like the E-2D to protect their CVs. I would guess that if/when the West does go head to head with the Chicoms the USN will be providing most of the AEW to the Brit CVs.

James Fennell
James Fennell
3 months ago
Reply to  dan

Look out for a UAV persistant surveillance system to replace Merlin in the 2030s.

BB85
BB85
3 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Is there an operator on board the Merlin or does it beam the data back to QE?

Stealth UAV’s seem to be the way to go for this sort of capability if the data is being sent back to the ship for analysis. The obvious problem is the data can be jammed but then that would be no different to Crowsnest either.

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago
Reply to  BB85

The Merlin operates with a crew of 3: a pilot and two operators/observers.

Rogbob
Rogbob
3 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

Errr, isnt it two pilots up front, and operator rear? Lynx/Wildcat is pilot plus flobs, but Merlin is pilot and co-pilot I thought plus observer as the ASW kit operaforb(and I thought for AEW there was ar least one wdditional workstation)?

Nick C
Nick C
3 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

There are a couple of u tube videos available, and it definitely states one pilot and two in the back doing the work.

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

It’s stated in the very article that this page was written from:

“Each helicopter has a crew of three: two observers (mission and tactical specialists) and one pilot.” 

https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2021/march/24/20210324-crowsnest-flies

DaveyB
DaveyB
3 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

Yet the above pictures show, pilot and copilot?

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
3 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Two crew up front, two in the back to operate the AEW kit.

James Fennell
James Fennell
3 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

two in front one in the back – three total

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

I’m just giggling at the four different answers!

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
3 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

How about this making five ?

“Air Crew Trainers – These consist of a Cockpit Dynamic Simulator, a Cockpit Procedures Trainer, and three Rear-Crew Trainers.”

https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-gb/products/merlin-helicopter.html

julian1
julian1
3 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

lets agree on pilot and observer in the front, and then 1 or 2 operators in the rear. Would a fighter control sit in the back or is that role back in the ship?

James Fennell
James Fennell
3 months ago
Reply to  BB85

It has an operator, but very soon all data will go into the combat cloud for AI processing.

Daveyb
Daveyb
3 months ago
Reply to  BB85

That’s not strictly true about jamming the datalink. The Merlin will use 2 types of datalink, a Link 16 and a Link 22. The aircraft won’t be operating that far from the carrier, possible no more than 50km. This means the people doing the jamming have to either use brute power to overwhelm the signal with white noise, or use a spoofing program that mimics the data. Either way they will need to be pretty close to the aircraft or between it and the carrier. Both Link 16 and 22 have a degree of electronic counter – countermeasures as they… Read more »

Dave Wolfy
Dave Wolfy
3 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

This is the one big difference between the Merlin and the E2 – where the Merlin is, the carrier is. At least the E2 can have a significant stand-off.
I suppose that if Samson radars are lighting up the sky it doesn’t make much difference.

Dave Wolfy
Dave Wolfy
3 months ago
Reply to  BB85

It would be odd to use a “stealth” airframe for something that loiters whilst radiating like a beacon.

Peter S
Peter S
3 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Linked to the request for info on EM launch systems, the navy is looking at UCAVs for strike and refuelling. I would have thought that using a UAV to replace Crowsnest would be a higher priority

Rob
Rob
3 months ago

Rushed into service before Big Lizzy deploys but also vital. Well done to all the people involved. Just goes to show that complicated systems can be hurried to the front line when people really get their heads together.

Andrew
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Was surprise .myself after reading there would not be ready for deployment with QE 2 ,but well done.?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago

Please please HMG. Never mind growing the fleet. How about a few more Merlin?

30 is ridiculously low considering they now also pick up the ASCS role.

Future Commando Force could do with some more helicopters too.

James H
James H
3 months ago

Will we even have enough helicopters to spread across all these new ships? And do you think they will get the armies Wildcats as they say about consolidating 4 types to 1?

Trevor
Trevor
3 months ago
Reply to  James H

I’m guessing the CSG and Type 26 will be prioritised for Merlin, and despite the scare stories re Wildcat they will be needed to populate the other escort types. Agree that Merlin numbers don’t provide sufficient cover for requirements.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  James H

They’re not planning that many new ships over and above existing. We can never have too many helicopters though! 815 has ships flights of a single helicopter, though I recall the Ice Patrol Ship has 2? Merlin force also provides for some T23. Do ships flights remain with an escort all the time, or do they transfer to an active vessel like the CIWS do when a ship deploys? No idea on army Wildcats. I’ll wait for more details as that report also described Chinooks being with the army so who knows WTF they were on about. The RM already… Read more »

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago

The last ice patrol ship had 2 wildcats. Protector has a pad but no hangar.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

Ah. Had not has. Thanks for the correction. No hanger? Bit poor for an IPS??

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago

No worries. Yes, it’s a bit of a blow. The loss of the helicopter capacity has removed a level of support for the BAS and S&R activities. Protector has utilised drones to take on some of what was lost (survey/camera capacity), but it can’t compare to the capabilities of 2x Lynx HAS.3Ice. If memory serves me right, the flight deck of Protector is only certified for day landings. Fortunately, RRS Sir David Attenborough has a hngar capable of fielding two helicopters. It goes some way to replacing what was lost, but you know me – I like things to be… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago

Flights including the specific aircraft are allocated to ships. Wafus disembark at the slightest opportunity and go back to their Shore base .So in a ship maintenance period the flight will go shore side and do the deep maintenance on the cab.
Flights do move around . When a ship enters refit they go somewhere else or act as stop gap fillers but when the ship re-emerges they go back.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Thanks for that answer.

Paul.P
Paul.P
3 months ago
Reply to  James H

I think the Merlin production line is closed but Wildcat is still open. Wildcat can be fitted with dipping sonar. It has nothing like the range and endurance of Merlin but would be better than nothing. Also it only carries 2 torpedos versus 4 for the Merlin.

dan
dan
3 months ago

What altitude and for how long does this stay on station?

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
3 months ago
Reply to  dan

Dont know the altitude, endurance is 4 to 5 hours.

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 months ago
Reply to  dan

Service ceiling is 4500m for merlin, which is adequate With a radar horizon of 171 miles

So if your target was at 10m above see level you have a radar detection range would be 171 miles.

if your target was at 250 meters above sea level ( not sure you would fly lower than that) radar detection range would be 212 miles.

PCSB
PCSB
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

171 miles is not a reliable figure – detection range is also driven by target RCS and sensitivity of the radar. .

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 months ago
Reply to  PCSB

Hi PCSB I was not talking about the sensitivity of the radar or RCS of the target. Just service ceilings and their impact on horizon. Sensitivity and RCS are secrets and to be honest not something you can have a really informed discussion on.

dan
dan
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Thx. Definitely better than no AEW capability but in todays environment they really need something that flies much higher, with much great power output that can venture farther out than what a helo does. Those Chicom and Russian supersonic ASM are nasty and need to be detected as far out as possible not to mention future stealthy aircraft.

RobW
RobW
3 months ago
Reply to  dan

I think the RN knows and is hoping to fill that gap with UAVs at some point. Lots going on between the RAF and RN about how the loyal wingman concept could work for both services. Also the MOD asked industry for info on how emals could fit into the carriers for UAVs, alongside the ramp it seems. Hope for the future but yes Crowsnest is the bare minimum.

Tim
Tim
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

So with an ASM range of 150nm you might get just 62nm of time (about 5 mins) if the radar was pointing in that direction at the time before an attack is launched. And with just 4 on a QE you’d have to have at least 1 in the air 24/7. Maybe that could be done for 2 weeks.

Wouldn’t it be better to have a drone fleet for AAW? Perhaps a dozen Blackjacks, enough to keep 2 flying in a big circle round the fleet for months looking down at the horizon.

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 months ago
Reply to  Tim

Radar line of sight at 4500m altitude is going to be at close to that 130 nautical miles at very low altitude ( 5 meters) , aircraft with be in the radars line of sight further out depending on altitude, about 150nm at 250 meters, remembering radar line of sight is not the same as optical line of sight ( it’s a lot further as electromagnetic waves refract in atmosphere ) . So if you can only detect a close to sea level object at 60nm that’s a function of your radar and the objects radar across section, not the… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
3 months ago

Shame they are not fitted with a more capable up-to-date Modern electronically scanned phased array radar, capable of true multi-mode function. Instead we have got a less capable radar that traces its design back to the 70/80s…. yes it has a new posh front end and is a bit more powerful in terms of processing and output but it is not state of the art by any measure.

I hope Chinese stealth is rubbish or Searchwater might not see an inbound raid!

At least we not have something which is an improvement over nothing…

Taffybadger
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Traced back to the Original Searchwater from Thorn EMI late 60’s!

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

F35 & Crownsnest will provide excellent coverage for the task group. Far superior to anything China can deploy from sea or land.

Paul42
Paul42
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

We had the option for a far better radar from Lockheed Martin, but they chose what they thought was the easiest and cheapest option……

Paul.P
Paul.P
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

My understanding is that you don’t need ASEA multi functionality. Crowsnest is not going to direct any missiles onto a target. Its job is to detect low level stationary and moving targets against sea clutter. Its very good at this.
High altitude targets will be detected at long range by the radars on the escorts.

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/rfa-faa-and-ran-team-up-for-major-drugs-must-in-the-arabian-sea/

Rob N
Rob N
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

AESA is not just about accuracy it is also about digital beam forming and resistance to jamming – not to mention low probability of intercept and multimode opperation. it is also about detecting stealthy targets. Searchwater will be more prone to jamming, will advertise its location and only be able to detect stealth at short range. Not to mention that we sold China the radars from the canceled Nimrod AEW so they will have examples of the core system to find countermeasures for. we should view Searchwater as a short term place holder for a modern system. I think we… Read more »

PCSB
PCSB
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

The Nimrod AEW radar was not based on the Thorn EMI Searchwater radar but on a totally different GEC Marconi system. Thorn EMI played no part in the AEW saga although at the time their radar was used very effectively in the Nimrod MR. Mk1 and II

Taffybadger
3 months ago
Reply to  PCSB

I was a Searchwater tech on Nimrods, the radar was excellent for its age, but I remember heaving about its main computer, 32kg in weight for about 32kb of memory on individual cards the size of a VHS tape

Rob N
Rob N
3 months ago
Reply to  PCSB

Skymaster: Development of Searchwater AEW/LAST, combining the air-to-surface capability of the original Searchwater and the air-to-air capability of Searchwater AEW/LAST. Developed as the radar for Argus-2000 AEW&C system to be installed on British Aerospace Nimrod AEW3.[4] which was eventually cancelled. However, 6 complete Argus-2000 AEW&C systems plus two more Skymaster radar as spares were purchased by China in 1997 for 66 million US dollars.[5] The experienced gained from Skymaster/Argus-2000 program despite its eventual cancellation has been used in the modernization of other models of Searchwater radars.

Paul.P
Paul.P
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Understand. Got to start with the basics though: pick up the subsonic sea skimmers. The new technology missiles are a problem even for US battle groups.
https://theaviationist.com/2021/01/29/chinese-h-6-bombers-heard-on-radio-confirming-orders-for-simulated-attack-on-u-s-aircraft-carrier-near-taiwan/
In high threat areas we are going to need F-35 combat air patrols. They do have state of the art radars but aren’t really designed for loitering.

TrevorH
TrevorH
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Yes was thinking about that. What is the point crowsnest if a T45 can st a cricket ball half an ocean away.

Thanks for that.

Something different
Something different
3 months ago

Great news! Of course we need 192 of them on 24 carriers with 256 escorts and a shark with directed energy weapons emanating from its optical sensor array.

Andrew
3 months ago

Wishful thinking

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 months ago

You forgot the space ships, I think we should have space ships.

Peter Crisp
Peter Crisp
3 months ago

I think the most important question that needs answering is How good is this at detecting supersonic cricket balls?
I remember that was a crucial metric when the type 45 first entered service.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

Or how many football pitches in area can it scan…
And don’t forget that it flies at 4500 M which is X times higher than Nelson’s column or the old favorite…. X amount of London buses parked end to end

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Yeah but, How many Sausages do they get through ?

Herodotus
3 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Snorkers!

Herodotus
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Supersonic balls….those were the days!

DaveyB
DaveyB
3 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

I kid you not, as part of my radar degree I used a speed tape covered cricket ball fired from an air cannon, for doing doppler measurement. The Uni limited the oomph I was allowed to fire it at, so top speed was sadly just under 200mph. I reckon it could of hit 300 if the pressure check valve was all the way out.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
3 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Or you could have used Jofra Archer I guess though I note he wasn’t very stealthy when breaking COVID regs.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

You forgot the critical measurement: Olympic swimming pools!

I think one 1SL sated the number of Olympic swimming pools the hangar deck of QEC could accommodate!

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

How many baked bean cans can they carry….I would really like to know.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

Way better than the England Openers….. !

KPB
KPB
3 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

FFBNW Slazenger V12?

Trevor W Hogg
Trevor W Hogg
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

Supersonic Cricket Balls, sounds like something the England Cricket team could do with.

Frank62
Frank62
3 months ago

Phew, that’s a relief. Seemed we’d deploy without AEW, which didn’t end well in ’82.

david
david
3 months ago

So does the pilot have a 30 degree head tilt to account for the CofG change? Don’t roast me, some humor applied!

Herodotus
3 months ago
Reply to  david

A poor choice I think……Lockheed Martin came up with a panel arrangement that could be fitted any Merlin. This was deemed as far too sensible as the MOD wanted to hang on to their giant colostomy bag ?

peter french
peter french
3 months ago

Bring back the Gannet

Herodotus
3 months ago
Reply to  peter french

I remember watching one folding itself up; what a marvel of British engineering!

expat
expat
3 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

And probably could land on the QE without traps if she going full steam into the wind. Great aircraft.

Last edited 3 months ago by expat
Herodotus
3 months ago
Reply to  peter french

Found this on U-tube (ASW verion)….nice little video with the pilot talking about the beast!

3,400 HP, 310 MPH, bi-fold wings, coaxial propellers, oldest flyingTurboprop, Fairey Gannet – YouTube

expat
expat
3 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Enjoyed that, thanks 🙂

captain p wash
captain p wash
3 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Twin Mamba…. Ahead of it’s time in many ways.

Herodotus
3 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

The constant speed idea had its advantages back when turbines had slow spooling speeds….not sure that the fuel efficiency would pass muster these days though. I liked the comment that he’d use 50 gallons just to get airborne. That said it was a unique and imaginative solution to a problem, packed full of novel ideas, and it bloody worked! Fairey Aviation, a great British company!

Paul
Paul
3 months ago

At least its something which is better than nothing at all would have loved to have seen a buy of v-22 ospreys with the lockheed Martin palletised system which I think would give us increased capabilities in other areas as an added bonus

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
3 months ago

Saw one of these bimbling around at low level near Yeovil a couple of weeks ago. Could have been this very aircraft on constructor trials.

Cheers CR

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Surprised it did not get mugged or Beaten over the head with bat.

KPB
KPB
3 months ago

Affectionately known as (tea)baggers?

Richard B
Richard B
3 months ago

The CrowsNest programme is 18 months behind schedule according to the NAO. The RN is really rushing it in to service for CSG21. Its seems like the deployment will in reality be more like sustained trails with one or two helo’s, than even an Initial Operational Capability (IOC). Full Operational Capability (FOC) is now scheduled for May 2023.

Something different
Something different
3 months ago
Reply to  Richard B

The issue with schedule a I that the people doing the initial planning on cutting complex technology platforms frankly are doing a lot to guess work regarding what effort, resource and time it will take to deliver the project m. That brisk guess is then taken as a fixed in stone set of milestones by ministers/senior managers who seem to ignore all historical examples of how lign projects actually take. Also this is not just a public sector issue, in the private sector plenty of projects go wrong and/or ate late but usually they don’t receive so much publicity as… Read more »

expat
expat
3 months ago

Yeah seen that so many times myself, its like pushing a builder for a build completion date before you have the architects drawings, he’ll have no details so his timeline will be a best guess. Initial program length has to be indicative at best.

Jonny Agar
Jonny Agar
3 months ago
Reply to  Richard B

One main issue was the drag of the bag caused a vibration. Which in turn was causing failure of carbon fibre panels. Same issue with the sea king. BUT sea king made of Alloy.

Taffybadger
3 months ago

What’s the endurance of this platform ? how many will it take to maintain 24 hr coverage in high threat areas? the platform will be up and down like a yo-yo between maintenance, re-crewing…im guessing you’d need about 5 serviceable platforms to maintain this readiness?

Klonkie
Klonkie
3 months ago
Reply to  Taffybadger

great question TB – what will a typical carrier deployment look like?
Any insight on this people?

Sceptical Richard
Sceptical Richard
3 months ago

This is excellent news! Even if it’s not a fully functioning system yet, it’s the right way forward.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
3 months ago

And believe it or not they are ‘world class’. I get worried these days if that term isn’t actually used as I dread to think how bad it must be if it isn’t described as such.

Martyn Parker
Martyn Parker
3 months ago

I know that it would be better to have a better AEW platform on board but would it not be that in times of war a Poseidon or Wedgetail would be attached to the CSG?

ETH
ETH
3 months ago
Reply to  Martyn Parker

With just 1 Wedgetail available at a given time and no means of refuelling it in flight that’s not guarantee. There’s also something to be said about the vulnerability of land bases.