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Helicopter Crews Say Thank-You To Havant
Havant, UK, November 7, 2007
Lockheed Martin UK had a flying visit from members of 814 Naval Air Squadron today who dropped in to mark their Merlin helicopter fleet declaring Full Operational Capability.
Six members of 814 Squadron, also known as the Flying Tigers, flew a Merlin over the Lockheed Martin UK – Integrated Systems plant in Havant, pausing to salute the crowds gathered outside.
Later the crew spoke to hundreds of Havant staff about how the Merlin they created is used for everything from rescuing stranded sailors to catching drug smugglers.
“Declaring Full Operational Capability demonstrates we have kept all the promises we made on this programme,” said Lockheed Martin UK – Integrated Systems group managing director Ron Christenson. “We promised we would create the best anti-submarine warfare helicopter in the world; we promised we would create new UK jobs and new UK skills and we promised we would deliver to schedule and to cost. I’m proud to say we have delivered on all of these promises.”
Commanding Officer of the Flying Tigers, Commander Peter Munro-Lott said: “The Merlin is a tremendous machine and will be a vital part of the Royal Navy’s inventory for many years. We will soon be embarking on HMS Illustrious, so this was the perfect opportunity to come to Havant and meet some of the people who made this aircraft possible.”
Lockheed Martin UK was awarded the contract for the Merlin Mk 1 in 1991. The helicopter was primarily designed to hunt enemy submarines but today it is relied on for troop and equipment movement, force protection, search and rescue, maritime and littoral surveillance, drug interdiction and anti-submarine warfare.
Work on the Merlin continues through the £750 million Merlin Capability and Sustainment Programme, with more than 1,400 people across the country ensuring the machines stay at the cutting edge of design.
The Merlin is also being examined for its potential in the Maritime Airborne Surveillance and Control (MASC) programme. MASC is the third component of the UK’s future carrier strike capability and will work with the future aircraft carrier (CVF) and the Joint Strike Fighter to provide airborne early warning and command and control capabilities.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
Lockheed Martin UK, a unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation, is a leader in systems integration working on major programmes spanning the aerospace, defence and civil sectors. Lockheed Martin works with more than 100 business partners and employs over 1700 people at more than a dozen sites across the UK.