Royal Navy Commissions New Merlin Active Dipping Sonar Maintenance Rig

A new Active Dipping Sonar Maintenance Rig (AMR) has recently been commissioned at Royal Navy Air Station Culdrose, which will provide superior fault diagnosis facilities. The AMR is a complete working replica of the Merlin Active Dipping Sonar (ADS) system and will demonstrate to RN maintainers and aircrew the operation of the system in a workshop environment.

In a short ceremony, the AMR was unveiled by Engineering Commander, David Bartlett, Royal Navy Air Station Culdrose and Bill Widner, Vice President and Group Managing Director of Lockheed Martin UK - Integrated Systems.

“This has been an excellent example of close collaboration to produce an innovative and vital diagnostic tool for the ADS, which will greatly aid our maintainers and aircrew in the future,” said Commander Bartlett.

The AMR replica was constructed by Lockheed Martin UK engineers and Thales specialists in the Merlin Avionics Workshops (MAWS), conceived with minimal financial outlay to deliver an impressive piece of equipment. It is capable of carrying out a complete electrical and mechanical test of the system and will provide enhanced capabilities to both the Royal Navy as well as Lockheed Martin engineers. Components can be removed from the aircraft and functionally tested on the AMR to confirm whether it is serviceable in a much reduced timeframe.

Lockheed Martin successfully completed the first stage of construction and operation of the AMR earlier this year. The fully operational ADS system is capable of carrying out an E-Bit and M-Bit (Electrical and Mechanical test of the system); the rig’s inherent advantages will include additional fault diagnosis capability of Line Replaceable Units, thus demonstrating to maintainers and aircrew the operation of the ADS system, as well as the potential for further training.

2009 marks the tenth anniversary of Merlin’s defined In-Service Date, which was achieved in March 1999, with delivery of the twelfth aircraft. In December 2002, a major milestone was achieved with delivery of the 44th and final helicopter, which was both on schedule and to budget. Merlin has been on hand throughout this year to participate in the RN’s Fly Navy 100 Fleet Air Arm anniversary celebrations.

Notes to Editors:
One of Europe’s largest helicopter bases, RNAS Culdrose delivers highly capable Helicopter Squadrons specialising in Anti-Submarine Warfare, Anti-Surface Warfare and Airborne Surveillance and Control. Its frontline Squadrons are deployed to ships all over the world to support the Royal Navy in its global operations. Back at the Air Station, trainee Aircrew, Engineers, Air Traffic Controllers, Fire-fighters and Flight Deck crews undergo intensive training prior to joining Naval Air Squadrons for duties at sea. Additionally, the ‘Search and Rescue’ Squadron is on constant standby 365-days a year to react to emergencies throughout the Southwest region. Its red and grey helicopters can be seen braving all types of weather responding to calls for help on land and sea.

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