Driving To Deliver Your Business


Agusta Westland EHI EH-101 Merlin HC3 (Mk411) ZJ120 / D – 28 …

The Merlin HC3 and HC3a are operated by No 28 (AC) Squadron and 78 Squadron at RAF Benson. 78 Squadron was re-formed on 3 Dec 07 to allow for the increase in aircraft after the purchase of the 6 Danish Merlin HC3a earlier in 2007. The Merlin is the first of a new generation of advanced, medium support helicopters for the RAF. It is an all weather[1], day and night, multi-role helicopter used in both tactical and strategic operational roles. The aircraft carries an impressive defensive-aids suite, which includes a Radar and Laser Warning Receiver, Missile Approach Warners and Directional Infrared Countermeasures equipment, all integrated with an automatic chaff and flare dispensing system[2]. This is one of the most comprehensive defensive aids suites fitted to any helicopter in the world. To ensure accurate navigation anywhere on the globe, the aircraft s management computers take data from its laser-gyro[3], inertial-navigation platform and its doppler system[4] and from air data sources, and combine the information with precise position data received from Global Positioning System satellites. Navigation at night is enhanced by the crew s use of display night-vision goggles and by the aircraft s multi-function turret, which can be fitted with forward- looking infrared radar[5]. To increase the aircraft s range, the Merlin can be equipped with extended range fuel tanks and is capable of air-to-air refuelling, although this option is not currently used by the RAF. It is also fitted with an active vibration-damping system[6], which reduces the level of noise and vibration inside the cabin[7] to a level no greater than that of a turboprop aircraft. As a result, crew fatigue is much reduced during long transits and airframe life is increased.

The Merlin is able to carry a diverse range of bulky cargo, either internally or under-slung. Cargo can include artillery, Land Rovers or light-strike vehicles and over five tonnes of freight. The spacious cabin[8] can also accommodate up to 24 fully equipped combat troops and, when required, will convert to carry 16 stretchers for casualty evacuation or during humanitarian and disaster relief operations. Designed to operate away from base workshops and in difficult terrain, the Merlin has state-of-the-art support technology and incorporates aircraft health-and-usage diagnostics and a self-test capability for ease of maintenance.

The Merlin is armed with two general purpose machine guns converted for the air role, although there is provision for additional weaponry to be fitted at a later date.

28 (AC) Squadron officially reformed on 17 July 2001 as home[9] to the Merlin helicopter, a role now shared with 78 Squadron. Merlin helicopters are a vital part of the Joint Helicopter Command alongside their RAF counterparts, the Puma and the Chinook. Since reforming at RAF Benson, the Squadron has developed to incorporate A and B Flights, which are the operational flights, and an embedded Operational Conversion Flight on C Flight.

Posted[10] by Rob Lovesey[11] on 2012-08-09 17:53:17

Tagged: , Agusta , Westland , EHI , EH-101 , Merlin , HC3 , (Mk411) , ZJ120 , D , 28(AC) , Squadron , Royal , Air , Force , RAF , Benson , Families , Day , 2011EHI , 2011


  1. ^ weather (ntas.com.au)
  2. ^ system (ntas.com.au)
  3. ^ gyro (ntas.com.au)
  4. ^ system (ntas.com.au)
  5. ^ radar (ntas.com.au)
  6. ^ system (ntas.com.au)
  7. ^ cabin (ntas.com.au)
  8. ^ cabin (ntas.com.au)
  9. ^ home (ntas.com.au)
  10. ^ Posted (flicker.com)
  11. ^ Rob Lovesey (flicker.com)

Libya: Italy Agrees to Allow Armed U.S. Drone Missions from Sicily …

The Italian government last month quietly began allowing armed American drones[1] to fly out of the US Naval Air Station Sigonella[2] on the island of Sicily, on military operations against Islamic State in Libya[3] and across North Africa a breakthrough for Washington after more than a year of negotiations. U.S. drones[4] have been based in Sigonella[5] since 2011 but until last month they were used exclusively on surveillance missions.

The Italians granted permission for the drones[6] to be used only defensively, to protect U.S. special-operations forces in Libya[7] and beyond, the officials said. The permission granted does not include sending drones on an air attacks such as the one conducted last Friday by U.S. air Force F-15Es based in the U.K, against a training camp near Sabratha, Libya, targeting a senior Islamic State operative from Tunisia.


  1. ^ View all posts in drones (defense-update.com)
  2. ^ View all posts in Sigonella (defense-update.com)
  3. ^ View all posts in Libya (defense-update.com)
  4. ^ View all posts in drones (defense-update.com)
  5. ^ View all posts in Sigonella (defense-update.com)
  6. ^ View all posts in drones (defense-update.com)
  7. ^ View all posts in Libya (defense-update.com)

Air Transportation: France Fills The A400M Gap

February 21, 2016: France has ordered four American C-130J transports. France already operates 14 of the older C-130H aircraft and was not expected to order the latest model, the C-130J, because France was a major customer for the new European A400M. But this aircraft was delayed four years and France only began receiving it in 2013. Then it turned out that the A400M could not yet handle aerial refueling of helicopters or paratroopers jumping from the side doors. So two of the new French C-130Js are transports and two are tankers. Delivery begins in late 2017. France needs the C-130Js to support its special forces and other overseas intervention forces.

The 141 ton A400M is in many ways superior to the C-130. A400M has a cruising speed of 780 kilometers per hour, a range of 6,400 kilometers (with a 20 ton load), and normally carries about 30 tons (or 116 paratroopers or slightly more regular passengers).

Most C-130s are the 70 ton C-130H which has a range of 8,368 kilometers, a top speed of 601 kilometers per hour, and can carry up to 18 tons of cargo, 92 troops, or 64 paratroopers. The latest version, the 79 ton C-130J, has a top speed of 644 kilometers, 40 percent more range than the C130H, and can carry 20 tons of cargo. The C-130 is used by more than 50 countries. The A400M had an opportunity to give the C-130 a lot of competition, but this opportunity was diluted because the A400M failed to arrive on time and on budget. Still, the C-130 does now have the most formidable competitor it has ever faced.

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