AgustaWestland Merlin HC.3 in
united kingdom Royal Air Force

Del'd: 22 - 2001 to 2015

Royal Air Force Merlin HC.3

In Nov 2009, the first RAF Merlin ZJ120 and ZJ130 were detached to Afghanistan as part of Operation Herrick to relieve the chronic shortage of tactical air lift.

Towards the end of 2009, after years of media criticism of inadequate numbers in the UK Helicopter forces for the jobs they were being asked to perform, it was announced that the Commando Sea Kings would be retired and be replaced by ex RAF Merlin, initially as is, and then later (c 2017) by conversions to a fully marinised model (ie no new builds). The larger Merlin ( to be known as HC.4 ) lift would result in a smaller fleet with fewer active crews, achieving the same result while saving money.
RAF ordered 22 EH.101 of the transport variant which entered service with 28 Squadron at RAF Benson in January 2001. Equipped with extended range fuel tanks differs from the Royal Navy version by having double-wheel main landing gear.
In 2007 six former Danish airframes were also received
On Sept.30, 2014 a handover ceremony was held at RAF Benson and the 25 HC.3 / HC.3A were transferred to the Royal Navy

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Royal Air Force Hand Over Merlin To Royal Navy, 01-Oct-14 : Yesterday marked the end of an era for the Royal Air Force and the start of a new one for the Royal Navy as the official handover of the Merlin helicopter took place in a formal ceremony at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire.

QinetiQ to provide evaluation for Merlin MLSP, 07-Feb-14 : QinetiQ has been awarded a five year contract, worth £16 million, to provide test and evaluation services to the MOD in support of its Merlin Life Sustainment Programme (MLSP).

RAF Merlin 10 years of continual deployments, 27-Sep-13 : by Nikki Hamilton - The RAF Merlin Force is celebrating its return from 10 years of continual operational deployments following the withdrawal from Afghanistan. The RAF Merlins, which are based at RAF Benson, Oxfordshire first deployed to Bosnia in 2003 and have since provided essential helicopter lift for land forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Merlin helicopters end Afghan operations, 04-Jun-13 : The RAF's Merlin helicopter fleet has finished operations in Afghanistan after providing nearly 4 years of continuous front line support.

UK Marines learn about AW101 at RAF Benson, 03-Jul-12 : The head of the Commando Helicopter Force visited the trailblazers for the future wings of the Royal Marines as they get to grips with the replacement for the venerable Sea King. From 2016, the Merlin will be the mainstay of operations by the Yeovilton-based Force, which has sent engineers and aircrew to RAF Benson to train to fly and maintain the helicopter.

HH-71 CSAR-X Team Successfully Demonstrates Aerial Refuelling Flights, 25-Feb-08 : AgustaWestland / Lockheed Martin HH-71 Team successfully conducted aerial refuelling tests between a RAF Merlin HC.3 and an Italian Air Force KC-130J tanker as part of USAF CSAR-X competition

Royal Air Force Merlin Operations in Iraq, 14-Jun-05 : On March 19th 2005, No 1419 Flight, 28 (Army Co-operation) Squadron operating four Royal Air Force AgustaWestland EH101 Merlin HC Mk3 helicopters, declared Full Operational Capability (FOC). As part of the UK's Joint Helicopter Force (Iraq) supporting the UK led Multi National Division (South East), they continue to support the stabilisation and peace process within Iraq.

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Construction Numbers Help Us

C/NBuiltID     In this OrganisationIn other Org

    50033 1998     ZJ117: 1999 as /H301 at Le Bourget air show
AgustaWestland UK ZJ117: 2007 with AgustaWestland for BERP IV Flight Testing for+
    50049 1999     ZJ118: 2007 28 Sqn /B
Royal Navy ZJ118: Nov15 HC.3i type asg 846Sqn

02jul16 pictured as 846 NAS/B at RNAS Yeovilton during +
    50075 1999     ZJ119: RAF 50075/RAF03; 2011 28/78Sqn./C
    50083 2000     ZJ120: RAF; 18jun11 pictured at Kemble, England
    50099 2000     ZJ121: RAF; 2007 28Sqn./E
Royal Navy ZJ121: RN 846Sqn; 19jul15 pictured (bot) at RIAT 2015

08jan16 846Sqn./E at Nantes direction South

08jan16 846Sqn./E at Bordeaux direction Spain

HC.3i type; 10jan16 visit to Gibraltar, with ZJ129.

846 NAS/E deployed to Gibraltar Aug 2016
    50113 2000     ZJ122: Jul06 pictured (pic1) as 28 Sqn /F at RAF Fairford
Royal Navy ZJ122: Royal Navy /F from Aug15; Oct16 first flight of HC.4 ty+

08jul17 pictured (pic3) as first HC4 at Yeovilton airsh+

10sep17 as /F pictured (pic4) on the East Terrace of+
    50129 2000     ZJ123: RAF Merlin HC.3 28Sqn/G; Jun09 pictured at Kemble Air Show, +
    50133 2000     ZJ124: RAF HC.3 /H; 17jul11 pictured with 28Sqd at RAF Fairford RIA+
    50137 2000     ZJ125: RAF
    50141 2000     ZJ126: RAF 50141/RAF10 in June 2009 /K 28/78Sqn.
Royal Navy ZJ126: Apr15 HC.3i type asg 846Sqn

10sep17 pictured under heavy rain on ferry stop at San +
    50149 2001     ZJ127: RAF 50149/RAF11 in 2003 /L 28Sqn.
AgustaWestland UK ZJ127: conv to fully marinised HC.4

Royal Navy ZJ127: 08jul17 /L pictured at RNAS Yeovilton Air Day 2017
    50153 2001     ZJ128: 50153/RAF12; 2003 /M 28Sqn; 19aug06 pictured at Shoreham Air+
Royal Navy ZJ128: 845 NAS / M. Deployed to Caribbean for huuricane relief+
    50167 2001     ZJ129: 2007 28Sqn./N
Royal Navy ZJ129: 08jan16 846Sqn./N at Nantes direction South

08jan16 846Sqn./N at Bordeaux direction Spain

HC.3I type; 10jan16 visit to Gibraltar with ZJ121.
    50169 2001     ZJ130: RAF; 2007 28Sqn./O
Royal Navy ZJ130: 02jul16 pictured (pic2) as 846Sq /O at RNAS Yeovilton d+
    50173 2001     ZJ131: RAF Merlin HC.3 28Sqn./P; 11may07 pictured at Elwood HLS (H+
Royal Navy ZJ131: final Merlin delivered from RAF Benson to 845 NAS at Ye+
    50177 2001     ZJ132: RAF Merlin HC.3; 06may12 pictured at Abingdon Air Show
Royal Navy ZJ132: Royal Navy HC3i; 30jun17 /Q RNAS Yeovilton

29 Aug 2017 845 NAS/Q embarked HMS Ocean for 4 month M+

22 Sep 2017 joined Caribbean relief effort when ship ar+
    50181 2001     ZJ133: RAF 50181/RAF17 in 2009 28Sqn.
    50183 2001     ZJ134: RAF
Royal Navy ZJ134: RN; Oct16 846Sq /S in Bavaria, Germany
    50187 2001     ZJ135: RAF HC.3; 27aug09 pictured (pic1) at RAF Benson
Royal Navy ZJ135: 846Sq by Mar16

16jun16 on my radar in South Wales the past few nights

02jul16 pictured (pic2) as 846Sq /T at RNAS Yeovilton d+
    50191 2001     ZJ136: RAF HC.3 d/d 29apr02
Royal Navy ZJ136: Dec15 HC.3i type asg 846Sqn

One of two 846 NAS Merlin HC.3i /U assigned to support +
    50195 2002     ZJ137: RAF 50195/RAF21.; 2003 28Sqn./W
Royal Navy ZJ137: Jan16 HC.3i type asg 846Sqn

02jul16 pictured as 846 NAS /W at RNAS Yeovilton during+
    50199 2002     ZJ138: RAF HC.3 d/d 22nov02; w/o 23jun10 heavy landing at Camp Ba+

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