Royal Navy’s New Merlin Aircraft Begins Sea Trials

The new addition to the Royal Navy’s Merlin family of aircraft has been conducting sea trials onboard the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Lyme Bay, operating daily from the Fleet Air Arm’s West Cornwall Base.

The Green Merlin Mk 3 has recently been transferred from the RAF to the RN “Junglie” Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) and trials activity is now under way to take the aircraft on board HM Ships.

A trials aircraft, crewed by a team from Rotary Wing Test and Evaluation Squadron (RWTES) and QinetiQ engineers, based at MOD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire have been putting the new Junglie helicopter through its paces.

Working on board RFA Lyme Bay they have been checking that the safety clearances, already in place for the Mk 2 Merlin, are similarly valid for the Mk 3, and it is safe to operate at sea.

These results will go a long way to determine how Green Navy Merlins will be used in the future with CHF and in particular flying from the deck of the HMS Queen Elizabeth class carriers.

Image: Royal Navy