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12 Jan 06. Lockheed Martin UK has been awarded a £750 million contract by the MoD to sustain the capability of the Royal Navy’s multi-mission Merlin Helicopter.

Under the Merlin Capability Sustainment Programme (MCSP), Lockheed Martin will develop and upgrade 30 of the current Merlin Mk1 fleet with an option to upgrade up to eight additional aircraft and mission systems. Not only does Merlin CSP ensure that Merlin MK 1 will continue to provide the Royal Navy with the world’s best ASW capability well into the future, its design will create a platform and mission system architecture that can more easily adapt and grow should new missions demand additional capability.

The investment in Merlin CSP will deliver an overall cost saving of over £500 million through the avoidance of obsolescence and is also forecast to lead to savings in future support costs in excess of £75 million. The first of the upgraded systems is expected to enter service in 2013. The programme will include the implementation of an open system architecture, improvements to the mission system processing capability, large area flat panel displays, and new capabilities in the Blue Kestrel Radar and Sonar system. Pilots and Mission Specialists will benefit from an easy to use and powerful Human Machine Interface that will allow them to take full advantage of the improved platform and mission system capabilities.

Lord Drayson, Minister for Defence Procurement said:

“This contract will see Merlin get the advanced new technology it
needs to face the challenges of the 21st Century.

“The Merlin Mk1 is already a potent aircraft which has proved itself
invaluable since it entered service, playing a crucial role during
the Iraq conflict. This programme will build on that success. Having
21st Century technology inserted into the Merlin will boost
performance and improve its already impressive range of capabilities.
It will benefit our front line capability, British industry and the
UK taxpayer, who will get excellent value for money from this

Commodore Simon Baldwin, the Merlin Integrated Protect Team leader said, “The Merlin Mk1 helicopter continues to be a critical multi-mission capability for the Royal Navy and the mainstay of our deployed anti-submarine warfare force. This new programme will allow us to explore even further the considerable potential of this impressive Weapon System, particularly the enhanced capabilities within the littoral environment. Adoption of open systems architecture will also considerably reduce the cost and impact of future obsolescence. As with the original Merlin programme, Merlin CSP continues with the highly successful industrial model that has become a classic example of what can be achieved by a team that combines both world leading systems integration capability and world-beating helicopter technologies.”

Ron Christenson, Group Managing Director for Lockheed Martin UK – Integrated Systems said, “We are delighted to continue our efforts to ensure that the Royal Navy will have the world’s most capable multi-mission helicopter. This win strengthens our reputation as the premier integrator of helicopter mission systems in the world. Along with our strategic partner, AgustaWestland Helicopters, we can now take the Merlin Weapons System to the next stage of its evolution.”

Ian Stopps, Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin UK added ”This win is great news for our team which also includes AEI, BAE, CAE, Selex, Smiths, Thales and QinetiQ and for UK industry as whole as this new programme brings hundreds of millions of pounds worth of work to UK companies and creates or secures around 1400 jobs across the industry. Furthermore, it will allow Lockheed Martin UK to sustain and grow the world class systems integration capability we have now established in this country.”

Lockheed Martin was awarded the original Merlin Mk1 contract f

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