Dubai Air Show

Merlin weavesmagic in Dubai

 - December 11, 2006, 11:20 AM

A Royal Air Force Merlin helicopter is the leading hardware item in a major participation at the Dubai show by the UK Ministry of Defence and its associated Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO).

Headed by Alan Garwood, DESO provides government assistance to UK defense contractors and their overseas customers. Garwood is joined in a high-level delegation representing the UK government at the Dubai show by Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, chief of the air staff, and Adm. Alan West, chief of the Royal Navy. Stirrup was one of the principal speakers at the Middle East Air Chiefs Conference.

For the last five years the UK’s defense industry has secured an annual average of $8.6 billion in equipment orders, second only to the U.S. In addition to providing expertise in hardware development, UK companies are major players in the defense support services contractor field, offering a wide range of repair and maintenance, training, base management and logistics support packages. More than 70 companies from the UK are exhibiting at Dubai, including major global players BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce. Many of the companies are attending as part of the UK Pavilion organized by the Society of British Aerospace Companies.

Flown in the display by Sqdn. Ldr. Marco Beardmore, the Merlin HC.Mk 1 helicopter is the RAF’s utility transport version of the AgustaWestland EH101. The aircraft comes from No. 28 Squadron, based at RAF Benson near Oxford. The squadron has deployed Merlins to Iraq to support British forces, and the helicopter has shown excellent reliability in the harsh desert environment.