LONDON, July 24 (UPI) -- The first five AW101 Merlin helicopters upgraded for Britain's Royal Navy have been delivered to a naval air squadron by AgustaWestland.
The Merlin HM MK 2s feature a glass cockpit and improved aircrew mission console and avionics, touch screen displays, and an improved ability to detect and track targets and share data with other aircraft and ships while airborne.
AgustaWestland, supported by prime contractor Lockheed Martin, was tapped to upgrade 30 of the Royal Navy helicopters. Work on the aircraft is being conducted at AgustaWestland's facility in Yeovil. All 30 aircraft are expected to be modified by 2015.
"The success of this complex program has been achieved by strong collaboration between industry, the Ministry of Defense and the end user," said Ray Edwards, managing director of AgustaWestland. "We are delighted this program is on budget and on schedule to deliver a world class front-line capability for the Royal Navy."
Added Jeff Streznetcky, vice president and group managing director of Lockheed Martin U.K. Integrated Systems: "The Merlin Capability Sustainment Program represents a magnificent team effort led by Lockheed Martin and AgustaWestland, supported by our suppliers, to provide the Royal Navy with unrivalled capability to carry out its anti-submarine patrol and policing requirement."