Merlin helicopters are tasked with anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare as well as troop carrying, casualty evacuation, medium lift and search and rescue duties.
Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, asked via a Parliamentary written question:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the retirement dates are for the Royal Navy’s Merlin helicopters.”
Jeremy Quin, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, responded:
“The Royal Navy’s Merlin Mark 2 and Mark 4/4A helicopters are currently planned to go out of service in 2029 and 2030 respectively. The Ministry of Defence keeps the out of service dates for all equipment under regular and routine review.”
The Royal Navy say on their website that Merlin Mk2 entered service in 2014 as an upgrade for the original 1990’s Mk1 naval version. Its role is supply the UK’s Maritime Force Protection and airborne anti-submarine warfare capability for the foreseeable future.
Additionally, the Merlin Life Sustainment Programme upgraded 25 Merlin Mk3/3a to a Mk4/4a specification. Modifications included new cockpit avionics, and limited ship optimisation, including a folding main rotor head and folding tail.
Our reporter Henry Jones spent a day getting to know the new Merlin Mk4 with 845 Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton. You can read more about that by clicking below.