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
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.
|More News ...|
| 21-Nov-02 - Delivery of the last of 22 HC3s for the RAF |
16-Oct-00 - Troop Loading Milestone for Royal Air Force s EH101 Merlin HC Mk3
04-Jul-00 - 6th EH-101 Merlin Mk3 to RAF
|Years||Units||bold : Current base of the Unit|
|2007/14||78 squadron||RAF Benson|
RAF Mount Pleasant
|2005/14||1419 Flt|| Camp Bastion|
Basrah International Airport
|2001/15||28 squadron|| Camp Bastion|
|Construction Numbers||Help Us|
|C/N||Built||ID In this Organisation||In other Org|
|50033||1998|| ZJ117: 1999 as /H301 at Le Bourget air show|| ZJ117: 2007 with AgustaWestland for BERP IV Flight Testing for+ |
|50049||1999|| ZJ118: 2007 28 Sqn /B|| 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|| 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|| 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.|| 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.|| ZJ127: conv to fully marinised HC.4 |
ZJ127: 08jul17 /L pictured at RNAS Yeovilton Air Day 2017
|50153||2001|| ZJ128: 50153/RAF12; 2003 /M 28Sqn; 19aug06 pictured at Shoreham Air+|| ZJ128: 845 NAS / M. Deployed to Caribbean for huuricane relief+ |
|50167||2001|| ZJ129: 2007 28Sqn./N|| 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|| 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+|| 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|| 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|| ZJ134: RN;
Oct16 846Sq /S in Bavaria, Germany |
|50187||2001|| ZJ135: RAF HC.3; 27aug09 pictured (pic1) at RAF Benson|| 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|| 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|| 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+|