Merlin trials aircraft - Crowsnest

The strike carrier’s eye in the sky – update on the Crowsnest project

As the clock runs down to the first operational carrier strike group deployment, Lockheed Martin, Thales and Leonardo are working to complete and flight-test the Crowsnest system that will provide airborne early warning capability. Here we take a look at the progress on the project.

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Royal Navy aircraft Carrier Strike progress

A pale imitation of Carrier Strike?

On 24 June 2020, the National Audit Office published their report “Carrier Strike – Preparing for deployment”. Their thorough examination presents a mixed picture of a project that is broadly on track but in many aspects is struggling with funding issues that threaten to drastically curtail the UK aircraft carriers’ full potential.

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Maiden flight for Crowsnest – the Royal Navy’s eye in the sky

The regeneration of RN carrier strike capability took another small step forward on 28th March when a Merlin HM2 fitted with the Crowsnest Airborne Surveillance and Control (ASaC) system completed the first test flight from Yeovil Aerodrome. Here we examine progress on the Crowsnest project.

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Crowsnest Merlin Helicopter Aircraft Carriers

Crowsnest – the strike carrier’s eye in the sky

Crowsnest is the name for the project to provide a new airborne early warning system for the RN. Sea King Mk 7 helicopters operated by 849 Naval Air Squadron currently operate in this role and provide what is now called Airborne Surveillance and Control (ASaC). They are the last Sea Kings remaining active in UK service but are due to go in 2018, by which time this type will have served for nearly 50 years.

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