Visiting the Bristows SAR hangar at Stornoway airport today is a Royal Navy Merlin Mk2 helicopter, awaiting engineers’ attention after experiencing a technical issue while operating near the Western Isles.

Merlin Mk2s entered service with the Royal Navy in 2014 to supply the UK’s Maritime Force Protection and airborne anti-submarine warfare. Beyond searching for submarines the helicopter is capable of round-the-clock maritime patrol and is armed with Sting-Ray torpedoes and depth charges. It’s also used for troop ferrying, casualty evacuation, and search and rescue. In the future it’s expected to be the replacement aircraft for the Navy’s Sea King Mk7.

Usually based at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall, this individual craft, ZH847 Merlin HM.2, was operational over the Atlantic when the fault occurred. The picture was taken by Jason Spinks.