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The Merlin (Bird of prey) HC3 and HC3a are operated by No 28 (AC) Squadron and 78 Squadron at RAF Benson. 78 Squadron was re-formed on 3 Dec 07 to allow for the increase in aircraft after the purchase of the 6 Danish Merlin HC3a earlier in 2007. The Merlin is the first of a new generation of advanced, medium support helicopters for the RAF. It is an all weather, day and night, multi-role helicopter used in both tactical and strategic operational roles. The aircraft carries an impressive defensive-aids suite, which includes a Radar and Laser Warning Receiver, Missile Approach Warners and Directional Infrared Countermeasures equipment, all integrated with an automatic chaff and flare dispensing system. This is one of the most comprehensive defensive aids suites fitted to any helicopter in the world.


Engines: Three Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM 322 turbines

Thrust: 2263shp each

Length: 22.8m

Span: 18.6m

Max speed: 167kts

Max altitude: 15,000ft

Aircrew: 4