Royal Navy: Vital MoD Merlin helicopter contract agreed to keep them "hunting submarines" - jobs for Fareham

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A multi-million pound contract has been agreed to maintain Royal navy helicopters so they can keep “hunting submarines”.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has agreed a six-year £241m deal to build new engines for Merlin helicopters. MK2 and MK4 aircraft are used by the force on a variety of tasks from evacuating casualties to eliminating threats. High-skilled jobs, primarily in Fareham, are set to be created as part of the agreement.

James Cartlidge, minister of state for defence procurement, said: “The versatile Merlin has been a workhorse for the Royal Navy for years, protecting and supporting global deployments. This new support contract will increase the mission availability of the Merlin so it can continue hunting submarines, conducting maritime patrols, ferrying troops, and evacuating casualties.”

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A contract to build engines for Royal Navy helicopters has been agreed, bringing high-skilled jobs to Fareham. Pictured: Merlin Mk2 helicopters of 820 Naval Air Squadron conduct Helicopter In Flight Fuelling (HIFR) and Vertical Replenishment (Vertrep) onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2021.A contract to build engines for Royal Navy helicopters has been agreed, bringing high-skilled jobs to Fareham. Pictured: Merlin Mk2 helicopters of 820 Naval Air Squadron conduct Helicopter In Flight Fuelling (HIFR) and Vertical Replenishment (Vertrep) onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2021.
A contract to build engines for Royal Navy helicopters has been agreed, bringing high-skilled jobs to Fareham. Pictured: Merlin Mk2 helicopters of 820 Naval Air Squadron conduct Helicopter In Flight Fuelling (HIFR) and Vertical Replenishment (Vertrep) onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2021.

Safran Helicopter Engines UK was handed the contract by Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) to manufacture RTM322 engines. The MoD said the contract started on Monday and “will deliver an improved, flexible arrangement that optimises availability and grades success against agreed performance outputs”. They added that the investment would ensure Merlin helicopters would continue to be used in “anti-submarine warfare and amphibious medium lift capability”.

Keith Bethell, director of helicopters at DE&S, said: “During the years the Merlin has proved to be an outstandingly versatile asset to the armed forces and Safran’s expertise has contributed to that success through meticulous support for the RTM322 engine. This contract secures more than 30 high-skilled jobs in the UK, mainly in Fareham, and shows that the engine is being looked after and maintained in the best way possible.”

The MK2 Merlin helicopter has enhanced radar and sonar systems so it can track down enemy submarines. It has been used alongside various Royal Navy ships, including HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. The MK4 is primarily used by the Royal Marines.

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