I've just noticed this article in the 25 Jan copy of AW & ST online:
I'm just a bit confused by Wg Cdr Stubb's comments about the RAF Merlin activity during Telic...
"The Royal Air Force has been using Merlin Mk. 3s since 2000, and has received its 22 helicopters to be used in the support role. Early in 2003, the RAF sent four Merlins to fly anti-surface missions in support of the U.S. Navy in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The RAF had one Merlin in the air at all times, and the four Merlins accumulated 800 hr. total flying and 200 hr. in a 14-day period, Stubbs said. Only one sortie was scrubbed, and that was for maintenance reasons. Another two of the Mk. 3s from the RAF squadron have been operating in Bosnia since April of last year. The average availability of Mk. 3s has been 90.2%, with a high of 96.7% and a low of 84.6%. The lower-than-expected rates were due to the long supply chain for parts from England, exacerbated by the fact that there were only two supply flights a week."
I wasn't aware that the RAF Merlins had actually taken part, but to have 1 aircraft airborne "at all times" must have been pretty exhausting for the crews!!
Anyone from the Freaks care to comment??