Merlin MK2 helicopter lands at Plymouth Hoe ahead of Armed Forces Day

The plane will stay there for the rest of the day and tomorrow for Armed Forces Day.

A Merlin MK2 helicopter landed on Plymouth Hoe. The plane will stay there for the rest of the day and tomorrow for Armed Forces Day.

Merlin Mk2 entered service in 2014 as an upgrade to the original 1990s naval version Mk1. Its role is to provide UK maritime force protection and airborne anti-submarine warfare capability in a foreseeable future.

The Merlin Capability Sustainment Program provided 30 Mk2s with a redesigned cockpit and aircraft management computer system; a total rewiring of the aircraft and a new open-architecture tactical mission system. Improvements to RADAR and sonar systems mean that the Merlin continues to be the most powerful underwater hunting helicopter in the world.

Read more – The best things to see and do on Armed Forces Day in Plymouth

Beyond searching for submarines, the helicopter is capable of so much more, including round-the-clock maritime patrol and interdiction – armed with Sting-Ray torpedoes, Mk11 depth charges and the .50 caliber machine gun M3m; troop transport, casualty evacuation, underslung medium lift loads, search and rescue and other emergency tasks.

Going forward, the Merlin Mk2, under the Crowsnest program, will also be the replacement aircraft for the Navy’s Sea King Mk7 Airborne Surveillance and Control. Helicopter training takes place at 824 Naval Air Squadron and Merlin Training Facility – Merlin’s “Academy”. The main base for training and frontline aircraft is at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall.

The Merlin Mk2 is already at the heart of major naval exercises with 820, 824 and 829 Naval Air Squadrons and 820 Naval Air Squadron will soon be deployed with the UK Response Force Task Group.

Lieutenant Dave Thomas of 824 Squadron Culdrose said: “Plymouth Armed Forces Day is great for the town. This is my third event and it’s great to come and meet and see people again and we can’t wait to host it.

On Saturday June 25, everyone is invited to Plymouth Hoe to show their support for the military community and enjoy a day full of family fun.

Organized in association with Babcock, here are the top things to see and do on Plymouth Armed Forces Day.

Meet the Army

Explore military villages, where you can chat with members of all armed forces and learn about the vehicles and equipment they use.

Take on the Navy’s ‘Hang Tough’ challenge, climb aboard Royal Marines all-terrain vehicles and get an up-close look at the Army Combat Support Boat. Lots of career advice will also be available.

Be surprised by the arena

There is a packed arena schedule to enjoy, with exciting demonstrations, parades and live music.

Watch the Parade of Standards led by the Tavistock Stannary Brass Band at 11am or watch the City of Plymouth Pipe Band show at 1.10pm.

For heart-pounding action, catch the Devonport Services RFC Rugby Demonstration at 1.35pm, watch the Team Endeavor Punishers Wheelchair Rugby Match at 3.30pm and listen to the award-winning Rock Choir at 4.10pm.

Also, don’t miss the Junior Field Gun tournaments which take place throughout the day, in the dedicated arena at the Elliot Street end of Plymouth Hoe.

Commemorating the Falklands 40

To mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War, there will be a parade dedicated to veterans, celebrating their freedom from the city, led by HM Royal Marine Band Plymouth.

Starting at 2pm from the Royal Citadel, the parade will march along Citadel Road, up Elliott Street and through Hoe Promenade and into the Arena.

Major General Thompson and the Lord Mayor will perform the salute, followed by speeches, benediction and the national anthem.

Visit the Veterans Village

In the Veterans’ Village, sponsored by the Royal British Legion, more than 65 charities and local organizations will showcase their work, offering information, advice and support as well as training and recruitment opportunities.

There will be plenty of interactive fun for the whole family, including Commando Force Airsoft ranges and historic military vehicles to see up close.

Listen to live music

From 5pm, the main stage at Plymouth Hoe will host an amazing free evening concert, sponsored by C&G Catering.

There’s a fantastic line-up of artists and bands including The Function Band of HM Royal Marines Plymouth, Ocean City Sound Barbershop Chorus, Absolutely Elton – an outstanding tribute to Sir Elton John and local duo Roulette, providing top hits from the 80s and 90s.

The headliner of the evening is Neville Staple of The Specials, performing ska classics and much-loved hits from his 40+ year musical career.

The much-loved Military Wives Choir will perform on the main stage at 12.35pm, and the Plymouth Music Education Hub will also host performances from local bands and choirs on their dedicated stage throughout the day.

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