The UK Royal Marines Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) and the Royal Air Force (RAF) have conducted an air-landed arming and refuelling point (ALARP).

As part of this effort, a RAF’s C-130J Hercules tactical transport aircraft was deployed to the Royal Marines CHF’s homebase Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton in Somerset, UK.

The operation then involved refuelling of CHF’s two Merlin Mk4 helicopters using a RAF’s C-130J aircraft.

The operation assessed and demonstrated the ALARP concept between the two aircraft. This joint initiative will further lay the foundation for undertaking similar battlefield operations in future.

According to the Royal Marines, the RNAS Yeovilton served as a suitable setting for conducting the recent demonstration to practice new joint concept.

In future missions, the RAF and Royal Marines’ aircraft will be deployed in a different setting and conditions, such as on flat ground in the Otterburn ranges, Northumberland, or in Salisbury Plain as well as on long stretch of beach that could be used as a temporary landing site.

The service said that similar refuelling operations have previously been performed with the Chinook and Sea King helicopters.

However, this was the first time Merlin Mk4 was involved in such a joint operation. 

In future, the air-landed aircraft refuelling system service is expected to be delivered by the RAF’s future A400M aircraft that will succeed the Hercules fleet scheduled to retire next year in March.