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Future UK helicopter fleet changes

 

The Minister for the Armed Forces has provided further details on the shape of the UK’s helicopter forces over the next decade.

January 6: In a statement to the UK House of Commons, the Minister for the Armed Forces, Bill Rammell, provided further details on the shape of the UK’s helicopter forces over the next decade.

He confirmed that the Royal Air Force’s fleet of Merlin HC3 medium-lift helicopters is to be transferred to the Royal Navy, replacing the current fleet of Sea Kings. Existing RN Merlin HM1s may be converted to the Airborne Early Warning role, depending upon the outcome of the impending Strategic Defence Review.

Royal Navy

Aircraft type/mark

Current fleet

Planned Out-of-Service Date

Comments

Lynx Mk3

28

2017

Replaced by the maritime variant of Wildcat from 2015.

Lynx Mk8

33

2018

Replaced by the maritime variant of Wildcat from 2015.

Merlin Mk1

42

2029

30 to be upgraded through the Merlin Mk1 Capability Sustainment Programme. Remainder may be modified to deliver Airborne Search and Control capabilities.

Sea King Mk4

37

2016

Replaced by Merlin Mk3.

Sea King Mk6c

5

2010

Replaced by Merlin Mk3.

Sea King Mk5

15

2016

Search and Rescue capability replaced by a joint PFI service with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Sea King Mk 7

13

2016

Replaced by Merlin?

Army

Apache

67

2030

No replacement planned at present.

Gazelle

39

2018

Training capability in support of the British Army Training Unit in Canada (BATUS). Replaced with leased aircraft.

Lynx Mk7

66

2015

Replaced by the battlefield variant of Wildcat from 2014.

Lynx Mk-9

22

2018

Replaced by the battlefield variant of Wildcat from 2014.

Royal Air Force

Chinook Mk2

32

2040

No replacement planned at present.

Chinook Mk2a

6

2040

No replacement planned at present.

Merlin Mk3

22

2030

To be transferred to Royal Navy. No replacement planned at present.

Merlin Mk3a

6

2030

To be transferred to Royal Navy. No replacement planned at present.

Puma

34

2025

No replacement planned at present.

Sea King Mk3/3a

25

2016

Search and Rescue capability replaced by a joint PFI service with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

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