is accelerating the procurement of helicopters in support of
operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The UK has agreed in principle
with the Danish Government and AgustaWestland that six Merlin
helicopters delivered in the past 12 months to Denmark, will
be transferred to the UK, where they will be refitted to meet
the British Royal Air Force requirements. Subsequently, Denmark
will receive new aircraft from future productions. The RAF will
also modernize eight Chinook Mark 3 helicopters at a cost of
£50-60 million, to increase its heavy transport capability.
The 14 helicopters are expected to be available for deployment
in 24 months. The combined program is expected to cost around
The six ex Royal Danish Air Force EH101 Merlin Joint Supporters,
which will be known as EH101 Merlin HC Mk3As in RAF service,
will be equipped with BERP IV technology main rotor blades which
will provide further improved performance. The Merlin Mk.3As
will be the first helicopters to be equipped with these new
technology blades, developed under a jointly funded AgustaWestland
and UK MoD research and development rotor technology program.
The acquisition of the six helicopters is expected to cost £175
Million. The new Merlins with operational enhancements and the
latest generation of advanced rotor-blades which will enhance
their speed, range and lift. This will ensure good performance
even in demanding environments like Iraq and Afghanistan. Denmark
will then receive six additional aircraft from AgustaWestland.
Chinook Mk3s were ordered in 1995 for special operations and
were delivered in 2001 but have been unavailable since then
due to technical problems.