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Royal Navy to upgrade Merlin HM2 radar

The UK Royal Navy is looking to upgrade the search radars of its 30 Merlin HM2 helicopters as it seeks to extend the type's service life out to 2040. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The UK Royal Navy (RN) is to upgrade the radar of its Lockheed Martin AW101 Merlin HM2 maritime helicopters to see them out to their planned 2040 retirement date.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) released a supply chain notice on 25 January, in which it said it is looking for “expressions of interest” from organisations wishing to be considered for qualification for the competitive procurement process for radar solutions for the RN Merlin HM2.

“The radar is to provide helicopter-based surface search for general maritime surveillance including small target detection/tracking, situational awareness and contribution to collision avoidance. Additional capabilities including air detection and over-land modes should be identified,” the MoD solicitation said, adding that responses should be submitted by 18 February. No further details or timelines were disclosed.

The RN fields 30 Merlin HM2 helicopters, with the airframes built by Leonardo and mission systems fitted by prime contractor Lockheed Martin. These are tasked for anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface vessel warfare (ASuW), vertical replenishment, search-and-rescue, casualty evacuation, and troop transport.

Having entered service in 2014, the Merlin HM2 was slated to remain in service through to 2030 though this was recently extended out to 2040.

For more information on the Merlin HM2, please seeLeonardo AW101 .

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