Aircraft Data Sheet: Merlin HM MK I (1989)
|First flight:||24th October 1989|
|Rotor diameter:||18.59m/61ft 0ins|
Rolls Royce/Turbomeca RTM-322 turboshafts
|No Built:||Nine prototypes of various configurations|
The Merlin HM Mk1 is the UK maritime variant of the EH-101entering service
with the Royal Navy. Intended as an ASW weapon system. At the time when selection
of Prime Contractor was under review, it was not considered that Westland
had sufficient financial resources to underwrite completion of the contract.
The result was that prime contractorship was placed in the hands of IBM, subsequently
passing over to Lockheed-Martin, leaving Westland/EHI to be a sub-contractor
for their own aircraft!
The Merlin is probably the most advanced anti-submarine helicopter in the world, with a formidable array of fully integrated electronic processing, and it is capable of operating of small ships using a similar deck system to that employed for the Lynx. An initial order for 44 aircraft has been placed for the Royal Navy.