Pictured is an Army Air Corps (AAC) Wildcat Mk1 Helicopter and it’s Door Gunner.
A .50Cal Browning M3M Machine Gun is fitted in the door gunner position.
An entirely new platform, the Army Wildcat Mk1 helicopter will perform a range of tasks on the battlefield including reconnaissance, command and control, transportation of troops and material, and the provision of force protection.
It is fitted with new Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company (LHTEC) CTS800-4N engines, which are significantly more powerful than those in the previous Lynx helicopter, enabling it to operate in extreme conditions and at high altitudes. It is also fitted with a nose mounted optical device.
The aircraft has a degree of commonality with its maritime sister and with increased versatility can be fitted for different roles quickly and easily. The Wildcats capability will be a significant advance on that provided by the previous Lynx fleet.
The procurement of the LHTEC CTS800-4N engine was also extended to a number of Lynx Mk9 aircraft resulting in the Lynx Mk9a.
This is providing better performance and a much improved light multi role capability in the extreme environmental conditions in Afghanistan.
A Royal Navy Merin helicopter flys over the south coast of England.
Merlin Mk1 the worlds most potent submarine hunting helicopter. The Merlin Mk1 have been in service with the Fleet Air Arm since the late 1990s and, after thorough testing and evaluation, the helicopters have been on the front line since 2000.
Their job is to find and if necessary destroy enemy submarines using our state-of-the-art sonar buoys which we drop into the ocean and Sting Ray torpedoes. Beyond searching for submarines, tthey carry out traditional maritime helicopter duties: anti-piracy/drug-running patrols, surveillance and reconnaissance, search and rescue, and passenger and load transfers.
There are more than 40 Merlins in service with the Fleet Air Arm in training and front-line squadrons. Most of these are in the middle of a £750m upgrade to turn the Merlin Mk1 into the Merlin Mk2 which has more powerful computer systems and is easier for aircrew to operate.
Serco, the international services company and defence specialist has been awarded a £20 million contract to provide Aircraft Engineering Support and Airfield Services (AESAS) at Royal Naval Air Stations (RNAS) Yeovilton and Culdrose.
The contract will commence in January 2021 and is for four years and three months with a 12 month extension option.
The contract will deliver aircraft engineering support to the Royal Navy’s Merlin Helicopter Force and Wildcat Helicopter Force based out of RNAS Culdrose and RNAS Yeovilton respectively, enabling the Royal Navy’s operational capability and airworthiness of the rotary fleets.
Additional services include maintaining the specialist ground support equipment for both aircraft types, providing refuelling services at both air stations and administrative support including operational planning support to 736 Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Culdrose. The contract will also support flying training with simulator instructors.
Commenting on the contract win, Paul McCarter, Managing Director of Serco’s Defence business said: “We are delighted to have won this contract and to be once again providing these critical services at the two West Country Naval Air Stations for the Royal Navy. It will sit alongside our existing operational presence in the region with maritime services at Devonport and our team of aircraft engineers supporting Leonardo Helicopters and the Merlin helicopter fleet at RNAS Culdrose.
“This is an exciting time for the Royal Navy, the Fleet Air Arm and its Engineering Branch as the helicopter force of Merlin and Wildcat aircraft support a surface fleet that is modernising and changing shape with the two operational carriers and the Type 26 and Type 31 classes on the horizon.”
The current workforce of around 100 people will transfer to Serco under TUPE regulations.