As part of military support to the NHS throughout the UK during the Coronavirus pandemic, Merlin helicopters from Culdrose will act as flying ambulances say the Royal Navy.

The Royal Navy say that the helicopters – typically used for submarine-hunting – will provide round-the-clock assistance to the NHS and South West Ambulance Services, serving a population of more than 4,500,000 people across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Bristol, Somerset, the Channel Islands and the Isles of Scilly.

“Three Merlin Mk2 helicopters and their crews from 820 Naval Air Squadron have been set aside for the task, aided not just by their own engineers and technicians, but the entire support network at the Helston airbase: medics, air traffic controllers, safety and logistic experts. The submarine-hunting equipment which normally fills the helicopters’ cabins has been stripped out so the Merlins can carry several stretchers, passengers and stores quickly, smoothly and efficiently over long distances.”

“This is very different from our ordinary role, but jobs like this are in our DNA. We are helping out the nation and the National Health Service during these testing times – it’s a real moment for everyone to pull together,” said Commander Chris ‘Grassy’ Knowles, 820’s Commanding Officer.

“It demands a real team effort for us here at Culdrose in terms of getting the aircraft and the crews ready, getting all the logistical support in place – providing air traffic controllers, meteorological information, so that we can operate 24 hours a day.”

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Steve

You would have thought they would use the Commando helicopter force choppers before ripping out the ASW equipment; maybe they are already fully allocated too.

Peter Crisp

Isn’t the ASW stuff in a removable pod under one of the sides? I thought they designed it that way so all the same type of helicopter could be rotated in and out of the ASW role and not fatigue particular air-frames?

Bondy72

It’s all in the cabin, the mission console, sonobuoy dispenser, dipping sonar etc. – all gets removed I think

julian1

that is the crows nest kit for aewc

whlgrubber

its in a large two seated cabinet facing aft. quite easy as a role fit.

julian1

I thought exactly the same thing! seems a lot of unnecessary work

Rudeboy

On the outside using HC.4 seems more sensible. But with recent Norway deployments and deployments for the Caribbean, and the relative recent introduction of the HC.4 with the inevitable ramp up of training the RN may have made the decision that it made more sense for a limited time to use the HM.2 fleet whilst the HC.4 fleet were regenerating.

Ian

Wouldn’t the MK4 suit the role better? Especially with both Carriers still being in port…

andy

a wildcat has been deployed to Newcastle not sure what role it,s playing but there are a few pics of it sat on the tramac with the tyne bridge in the background

Daniele Mandelli

Maybe the one from Leeming? Was reported here last week a Chinook and Wildcat were forward deployed up north.

Jonathan

That’s a far larger rotor than is normally used in the air ambulance roll. I would imagine it would not fit on most acute trusts heli pads As they are generally designed for a light weigh rotors not a flying house. I know my old EDs heli pad would be to small.

I suspect they will be used for swift movement across the nation between hub sites as normal air ambulances would not have the legs for that job ( they tend to do regional work with long range transfer done by fixed wing).

Paul T

The Hospital where I work has had a Merlin on the Pad,there is a rumour its being expanded to take a Chinook,they have done touch and goes there only.

Steve Salt

The compact rotor diameter of the Merlin which allows it to fit the pad on a T23 means it should fit a hospital helipad size wise but the weight might be an issue.

Rudeboy

Looms like the Merlin will be used for the SW primarily where there is the possibility of overwater flight.

Nigel Collins

At times like these, it shows just how important transport aircraft and helicopters are to the nation. I wonder if there is sufficient funding available to increase the number we currently have within the current Covid-19 budget if required?

If we’re having to take away front line equipment now, ordering more in advance would be the sensible thing to do providing the workforce or finished product is available.

Daniele Mandelli

Agree. All Enablers need expanding, as they have peacetime utility too. At the very least maintained at their current levels.

RFA, RAF SHF, RAMC, RLC, RE.

Harold

At the end of this great crisis, things will surely change. Already and in the face of enormous multi generational debt, retired senior naval officers in a jointly signed letter released on 2 April 20, are questioning the sanity of the Trident replacement, already £1,3 bilion over budget. (letter signed by: Commander Robert Forsyth RN (Ret’d), a former nuclear submariner who said, “It is completely unacceptable that the UK continues to spend billions of pounds on deploying and modernising the Trident Nuclear Weapon System when faced with the threats to health, climate change and world economies that Coronavirus poses.” –… Read more »

Mark B

With respect Harold the current focus is using those weapons to save lives. Over the last 70 years the death rate due to war has plummeted mostly due (I would say) to current policies. Always looking for improvements and will be fascinated to see the world throw down it’s weapons (if that happens) but I suspect there is a lot of wishful thinking in your words.

Paul T

Harold -when and if this crisis ends the World Economy will be trashed for sure,pretty much everyone will be in the same situation.Will this result in a rebalancing of Military thinking moving more towards Humanitarian Intervention and increased use of Soft Power,or will it go the other way with Nations desperate for Resources and Assets using whatever means to get them ?.

Meirion X

I would say the Covid-19 crisis is to the Advantage of China, they managed to contain it mostly to one province, yes supply disruptions in other parts of China as well. So I think China will become more of a military threat especially in the Pacific.

We also see that Russian milltary activity is very high recently!

Anyone Who thinks China and Russia would Agree to World Disarmament, is living in Cloud Cuckoo Land!

James

China is certainly in the best position world wide, its economy has hardly been dented and now they are cashing in selling everyone everything they need and no doubt at inflated prices. This could trigger the shift of power from the USA to China as the US is going to be financially crippled after this.

Just hope and pray it doesn’t trigger a war.

Airborne

Ah troll Harold and his defence force plan. I have informed him of the errors of his plan, and that it shows his lack of military experience and knowldege, however Harold the troll has never replied. Come on Harold, instead of waffling total chuff, come and explain how you think a purely defensive force would ever be usable, practical and effective? Alas methinks a troll knows very little but loves one liners.

julian1

Harold likes his “drive-by shootings”. suddenly pops up with an outrageous posting and then disappears, never standing by his statement or debating. Actually, this one isn’t quite as controversial as his usual postings. Does make me laugh though that when we’re barely spending 2% on defence, there’s a school of thought that its 2% too much! It really is a drop in the ocean compared to what is spent on other departments.

Daniele Mandelli

I like that “drive-by-shootings”

Very true.

Harold

What would you know as a signal operator little girl? You don’t own this site remember. Every been in the armed forces have you? rat a tat a tat!

Airborne

Oh dear is that the best you can do? Tut tut, very sad.

Daniele Mandelli

“What would you know as a signal operator little girl?” On certain subjects a lot more than you. And I’m a 48 year old male. Explained that to you too years back. And the term is “Signalman” or a “Signaller” in the PC version. “You don’t own this site remember.” No. And no one apart from you has suggested I do. You posted that exact comment a few years ago. As you think I own this site for posting often, I will post even more now, thank you. Every been in the armed forces have you? No. Next question? Amazing… Read more »

Harold

The managed decline mentioned in a recent NAO report (27 Feb 20) refers.

Harold

Time will prove me right. The next run down will come. I do appreciate you are an aggressive, unpleasant individual but I shall enjoy hearing you squeak as the managed decline mentioned in a recent NAO report (27 Feb 20) occurs. I takeeven more hope for a more manageable military budget from the responses we are getting back from politicians of all colours. The onus will be on health and debt management, not ships and nuclear weapons. Look at history. Examine the numbers of military forces 50 years ago, 30 years ago, 20 years ago and now. That is not… Read more »

Airborne

And that answer still avoids the question of your competence in military matters, specifically in the use, TTPs and role of a Defence force. Go on, have a go at the answer, let us all know about your Defence force concept, and maybe not look like the sad troll 🛎 end you currently do!

Meirion X

I think I know who troll H is now!
He his just written an anti defence article in the Guardian.

Airborne

Read it for a laugh, calls himself grumpy old man, but could also be Mike as well, another avatar he uses. Same lack of subject matter knowledge, same sad life, same regurgitated garbage, same child like writing style. Intersting thing is it got the Guardian “top comment” (althouhg not much to choose from), which makes me think there could be a link to one of the sad Guardian employees?

Mark B

It is always important that the military is available for peaceful purposes whenever needed. Training is good but cannot replace fighting an actual enemy even if it is an unconventional one.

Chris Hales

Thanks to these guys. As a Devon resident, ex army and Emergency Services volunteer myself i applaud them and this decision. At this time we need to harness all of the Country’s assets and resources for the greater good.

Meirion X

Covid-19 crisis just shows that the adversary Trolls will do whatever they can to disarm us!

Harold

Are you calling three experience retired senior naval officers trolls?

Meirion X

Just three misguided officers out of thousands of former officers who support the policy of ‘Nuclear deterrence’.

Nuclear deterrence has kept the World in mainly peace for over 70 years.

Lets keep it that way, No World Wars!

Airborne

No just you, yet again. Doesn’t waffling troll tripe ever get boring? Don’t you get out much?

Harold

Couldn’t find a real job then? Rat a tat a tat! Read about the managed decline mentioned in a recent NAO report (27 Feb 20)

Airborne

Still no answer I see, oh dear, how sad, never mind!

Meirion X

The Covid-19 crisis is also highlighing the issue of the spread of misinformation and lies by Trolls on social media. I hope the general public will become more aware of the issue.

Ian

To slightly broaden on that, if this was 39-45, most (Corbynite) Labour politicians who are using the coronavirus pandemic to score political points, would have been arrested for dissent.
Many Labour MP’s, are rewriting history by editing the true facts to suit party political further…is that not a form of trolling in a time of National Emergency?

Harold

Are you calling three experience retired senior naval officers trolls?

Ian

Not sure how you came to Ask that question, but no, it has nothing to do with the quotes in the article.

Airborne

You’ve said that twice…..

Meirion X

Do you have any examples of any Labour MP’s rewriting history, please?

Ian

Starmer in his first speech as leader accredited the NHS And NI Good Friday Agreement as Labour concepts/achievements.
The NHS proposal and White Paper was carried through by Churchill and Willink as part of Churchill’s 4yr Plan. Whoever took power post war, we would have had a National Health Service of some form/model.
The Good Friday agreement was John Majors doing, who ever won the 97 Election would have carried it through.
Sometimes the omission of detail can skew people’s interpretation of history, don’t you think?

Meirion X

As I have read, at the Post-war time Tories were split on the issue of a fully fledged Welfare State. So a Conservative victory in 45, might not have created an NHS straight away, maybe even a watered down version most likely, or could have of been very messy business at the time.

With Labour winning in 45, it was a decisive consensus to create a Welfare State.
So I think Starmer is right on this issue!

I am not sure what an alternative history of 1997, would be for Northern Ireland, might be different, who knows, sorry not sure!

Ian

That’s just about the answer I was expecting.

He misled, by the omission of the White Paper, set out by a Liberal under a Conservative lead National Government.

I’m surprised Starma didn’t try to own Lloyd-George’s “A Land Fit for Heroes”, another notable step forward for our nation, again under a coalition government.

SoleSurvivor

Ian you’re taking out your arse mate, you say “Corbynite” MP’s spreading lies then use Kier Starmer as an example, Starmer is in the group of least Corbynite MP’s by a mile, he was heavily involved in the coup to get rid of Corbyn in 16, to even suggest he is a “Corbynite” shows you know next to nothing about politics When you started your post I thought you were going to talk about the NHS and social care being under funded for a decade or along those lines when talking about scoring political points, but you’re actually talking about… Read more »

Ian

I would put Brexit down to Nigel Farage…

Starmer, I would class as a Socialist, period.

I do not class him as a Corbynite, simply because his character is of ambition, ‘a leader’, not a follower.

I thought it wouldn’t be long till Jeremy’s chief flag-waver would be on the scene…LOL!

SoleSurvivor

I would put the Brexit vote down to Nigel Farage, that vote is long gone and he has had absolutely nothing to do with the actual concept of leaving, the most important part You would class him as a socialist, he is not a socialist, he abstained on a conservative welfare bill, he calls himself a socialist because the membership has a huge socialist wing and labour was formed as a socialist party, he is maybe slightly economically socialist but I and many others who know what they’re talking about would class him as what he is, a left leaning… Read more »

Ian

Your head appears to be stuck in a Corbynite rabbit-hole, LOL

SoleSurvivor

And your heads up your own by the sounds of it mate you’ve messed up about Starmer speech saying he said things that he never

And you’re struggling with this discussion not understanding obvious points

So you’re reverting to type, which is what happens when I encounter everyone like this which is to bring up Jeremy Corbyn as many times as you can for some strange reason, even stranger as he isn’t even part of this discussion

Anyway I’m off to bed mate, put the bottle back under the sink or tell your mrs to hide it from you

Ian

SoleSurvivor

“but you’re actually talking about the creation of the NHS and the good Friday agreement, you need to lay off the glue, who on earth is thinking this”

This was Starmer’s first speech as your leader!

So, Starmer is thinking this! You’d better tell him to “Lay off the Glue” LOL

You just couldn’t make this up…thanks for making my Stay-at-Home so amusing…LOL

SoleSurvivor

No mate, your argument was on political point scoring and you brought up what he said (wrongly btw as I’ve told you below) the surprise was at you bringing up those examples of point scoring

He wasn’t talking about political point scoring he was doing his leadership speech

Honest question how many have you had?

Paul T

Ian – I wouldn’t credit John Major with the Good Friday Agreement,he had no power to make any progress,much like Teresa May and Brexit,it needed a Government with a very strong majority to stand any chance of sorting the NI problem out,which of course happened in 1997.

Ian

The coming together of key figures at key points in history cannot be detached from the eventual outcomes.
The Baldonnel meeting and subsequent signing of The Downing Street Declaration, was, without any shadow of a doubt, the key to NI peace.

To overlook this, and signal credit to a single Political Party, as Labour has a tendency to do when targeting a certain demographic, is clearly attempting to rewrite history for political further!

SoleSurvivor

“We built hospitals and schools, established Sure Start and played our part in bringing about peace in Northern Ireland.” Ian I know it’s hard on lockdown but put down whatever bottle it is you’re drinking Your entire argument on here is bogus, he said “played our part” where on earth are you getting that he is saying he is just crediting the Labour Party for the GFI You’ve watched the speech and are so desperate to criticise him you’re making stuff up in your head and not actually listening to what he’s said, all you’ve heard is good Friday agreement… Read more »

Ian

I listened intensely to his vomit-inducing socialist propaganda!
Played “our part” because it was between three parties…

The entire speech contradicts itself throughout, and as for the cathartic inflexions in his delivery? Please stop the planet, I wish to get off…

Has Labour clubbed together yet for Ali Mohammed Younis’s reef, and will Jeremy be laying it?

SoleSurvivor

Haha 😂

Now the penny has finally dropped we have entered into the next phase where the mask slips and the rage intensifies

You started off trying to look impartial to make Labour look bad now the gloves are off and the real Ian the true blue Tory comes out, now absolutely everything you say has no weight because of how biased you just made yourself look

I used to have great debates with conservative voters on here, ones with facts not smears

Go to bed mate

Ian

I’m non-partisan with Classical Liberal views!

Wondered how long it would take before labelling me a Tory, predictable and standard reply from a Corbynite on the losing end of a discussion…bedtime, goodnight!

SoleSurvivor

Non-partisan? I think your last reply makes that suggestion pretty ridiculous

Losing end? I am not the one that started this discussion based on a lie, you lost the minute you started a smear that wasn’t factual

Meirion X

Was it not the case that British Communists opposed Britain’s entry into WW2 at first.
Only then supported the war effort, after the Soviet Union was attacked by Germany?

SoleSurvivor

This is totally different from WW2 and there is no national unity government or coalition, it’s the conservatives making every decision, therefore it’s her majesty’s oppositions role to hold every decision to account and to oppose That’s basically how a parliamentary democracy works Ian, they’re paid for it and the people that vote for them expect there voices to be heard Approval for the governments handling of this has dropped dramatically over the last week, they are making errors and seem to be reacting to public and media pressure, testing of frontline staff being one example On the whole they… Read more »

Ian

First of all, I’m not your “Mate”!

To all intents and purposes, the invitation to Labour, to work with the government and to be listened to, is an act of National Unity.

Conflating constructive criticism with political points scoring, will never get past the electorate…why do think Labour took such a hammering at the last election?

Ali Mohammed Younis was assassinated today, will Jeremy be going to his funeral?

SoleSurvivor

It’s what they were doing anyway and usually do in government, Labour has absolutely no say on policy, this was only offered the day after the testing fiasco, and is still in no way comparable to a coalition government It certainly had nothing to do with political point scoring, the conservatives won a landslide on political point scoring, that stuff has happened in every election in history I couldn’t care less, in fact I hope he does just so you can have your rage breakfast spitting into your cornflakes when it’s on the Mail front page Your entire argument is… Read more »

Ian

SoleSurvivor

“Your entire argument is based on bullshit mate btw, I have highlighted it below…Lol”

Thank you for conceding!

Herodotus

Rather a waste of time trying to debate such matters on UKDJ. These days, this site is looking increasingly like the internet’s version of the Monday Club for people with learning difficulties. The NHS is very much the creation of the post-war Labour government. The Conservatives could never have agreed to such a radical reform. Of course, the idea of national state provision of health was widely held by many politicians as a goal for post-war Britain. However as you rightly point out, it was Nye Bevan and the Attlee government that brought it into being. There was a degree… Read more »

Ian

Horodotus: “The NHS is very much the creation of the post-war Labour government” The NHS was the Manifestation of Willink’s White Paper! Once the emergency medical service had been established in 1939, the question was not whether there should be an NHS but what form it should take and who should be in control. The white paper A document published by the government that sets out policy proposals. A national health service, published in 1944, detailed the wartime coalition government’s vision for a comprehensive, free and unified health service. Herodotus, your opinion could equally take its place at the Monday… Read more »

Herodotus

Read my post again! And to reiterate my point…the Labour government brought the NHS as we know it into being. It is very likely that a Conservative administration would not have been able or willing to deliver as comprehensive a package. To deny this is both churlish and ignorant. Did the Conservative government create the NHS…no it didn’t! The wartime coalition was just that….Labour, Liberal and Conservative and was acting on the Beveridge report….Beveridge was a Liberal.

Ian

You’re twisting and turning so much, you’re going to end up in a knot!

Now you’re backtracking from creation to adoption of a model…

Six more days till Monday Club Horodotus!!

Herodotus

The wartime white paper proposed a substantially different health service based on local authority control. It did not advocate the nationalisation of existing private assets and the creation of a national health body.. Even Beveridge wasn’t clear as to whether it should be a local authority service or a national service….he was even more circumspect as to how it was to be financed. I repeat, the NHS that exists today is the creation of the post war Labour government.

Ian

Come sempre,
La vittoria trova cento padri, e nessuno vuole riconoscere l’insuccesso.

Herodotus

Well, you should know chum….you should know😭😭😭

Ian

I’m not your “Chum” and neither are you a moderator.
If I come across your dummy I’ll pop it back in your pram…

On that, I will retire from this discussion…Cheerio!

SoleSurvivor

I have noticed, not been commenting very much for that reason I would say Labour are socialist yes, but that’s because I call democratic socialism socialism, I call democratic socialists socialists, unfortunately in the 20th century we had a pair of a*******s who stuck socialist in their party names, they then happened to kill tens of millions of people under an authoritarian state that had naff all to do with socialism, of course Hitler copied Mussolini into putting the “socialist” angle in the party name, then offered a load of socialist policies to get the workers on side, as Mussolini… Read more »

Ian

Without conflating the issue; I would say that people identify (Communist) Stalin and Mao with Socialism before Hitler and Mussolini. The communist models of China and Russia cost the lives of 60+million souls. As a Classical Liberal, I’m extremely proud of our post WW1 house building program and our welfare system, just a little frustrating that the biggest steps forward tend to be after a war, at the cost of many lives. I beleive in the Evolution of Society, not revolution! BTW, I’m self employed. Two weeks ago, I got a text off the government telling me to stop work… Read more »

SoleSurvivor

Hi Ian, yes when I said “pair of a*******s” the other I was referring to was Stalin And that’s one of the issues, I would never in a million years describe any of those as socialists, I would not even call Stalin a Communist, a lot of people now call the soviet model for what it was, state capitalism. If you read any book on the fall of the Soviet Union you will see most people on the left inside Russia called Stalinism a criminal betrayal of Marxist ideals, all of them, Hitler, Stalin & Mao used socialism and communism… Read more »

Jonathan

There is a word for executives who have the elected representatives of its legislative arrested for dissent and it’s not a word I would use for HMG. If It ever became the case that I did need to use that word against HMG then it would be a time when all the citizens of this country who believed in democracy would have a major decision to make.

Harold

Are you calling three experience retired senior naval officers trolls?

Airborne

Three times, shows that it’s an electronic troll.

Steve

I think it is clear that defence will be miles down the pecking order when this is all over and its time to rebuild, but hopefully once the economy is back on track, some thoughts can be given to how a better equipped armed forces (hospital ships / helicopters / man power / etc) could help should this happen again.

Mr Bell

Steve at least this episode hopefully has shown the entire country who the “mission critical key workers are” it is not the bankers, stockbrokers, fund managers, insurance underwriters. Perhaps now the key workers will get correct pay and remuneration for doing dangerous life threatening work that holds society together. Maybe if we have not bankrupt the country by the end of the coronavirus pandemic, then all those key workers might get a bit more appreciation from a country that is upto now utterly ungrateful. A clap does not change 14 years of below inflation or non existent pay rises in… Read more »

Steve

I don’t think it really has told the nation. Everyone already knew who was the important workers, but the reason they don’t get paid better is because it means we have to pay more in taxes, which will never fly. Additionally when compared private vs public directly (including pension and other benefits) and private get paid as well as public for front line staff, sad fact is money goes to the bosses, not the front line staff in private entities. Once it is over, the topic will be rapidly forgotten and normality will return where everyone complains they pay too… Read more »

Mr Bell

Steve, that doesn’t fly with me. Sorry. This pandemic needs to be considered a “wake up call”. I know about 30% of the senior clinicians , myself included, that have said this is the very last time we do this. Just because we have had our fill, spent too many years working in intolerable circumstances, with inadequate resources and never enough beds, staff, equipment to meet the needs of the service. So after this pandemic the NHS within 1 year is likely to lose 100,000 frontline clinical staff. It is your “accepting attitude” that is why we are in the… Read more »

Harold

Better continue with coming cut backs in the military budget then and put the money where it is really needed, Mr ‘Senior Clinician’!

Airborne

Sad little creature aren’t you.

Steve

@Mr Bell I am not saying its the right thing, i am just saying it is what will happen. I think its unfair, but reality bites. I don’t believe they will all walk away, i have worked in many big organisations where large numbers of staff have worked there decades and spent the whole time saying they will walk away due to x, y and z but when the crunch happens they don’t I suspect that it is possible that there will be a one off bonus paid this year to NHS front line staff. I hope so, but i… Read more »

Mr Bell

Harold, you are a very twisted bloke. I think you need to grow some more grey matter as you are clearly limited to very immature replies to what are serious issues. Perhaps you should switch to CBBC channel, that is going to match your intellect a lot better.

Herodotus

Well done Harold, you certainly got the bees buzzing on this thread….. 8/10 for effort!

Airborne

But 0/10 for subject matter knowldge a d that’s it very impressive at all. Also quite sad and lonely as his sole intention is to wind people up. But alas I like it, as it’s giving a sad lonely clown something to do, and we should support those in need.

Meirion X

I do agree with you that this pandemic is a wake-up call for the future, leading to establishment of
better scientific intelligence units to combat viruses, and to predict their evolution long before their become out of hand.

No doubt new technologies will be developed to collect intel on viruses and to combat them in the future.

This should be a priority, it will save a lot more money longer term.