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  • AgustaWestland Merlin HC.3
    united kingdom Royal Air Force

    Del'd: 22 - 2001 to 2015


    Royal Air Force Merlin HC.3

    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.

    Its first operational deployment was to the Balkans in 2003 and in 2004 was deployed to Iraq to support coalition forces in a Medevac role.
    In 2007 six former Danish airframes were also received
    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.
    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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    YearsUnitsbold : Current base of the Unit
    2007/1478 SquadronRAF Benson
    RAF Mount Pleasant
    2005/141419 FltAF Camp Bastion
    IQ Basrah International Airport
    2001/1528 SquadronAF Camp Bastion
    RAF Benson

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