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RAF Merlin HC3A Helicopter of No28 Sqn | by Defence Images
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RAF Merlin HC3A Helicopter of No28 Sqn

A Royal Air Force Merlin HC3A helicopter is pictured during a training flight over Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.


The Merlin (Bird of prey) HC3 and HC3a are operated by No.28 (AC) Squadron and 78 Squadron at RAF Benson.


No.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, 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.


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, inertial-navigation platform and its doppler system 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. 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, which reduces the level of noise and vibration inside the cabin 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.


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Taken on June 25, 2012