Thursday, 22 March 2018

The Light Infantry Division:The Super Merlin

The Super Merlin shall be a twenty long ton class maximum take off weight,minimum modification,development of the Merlin helicopter with more powerful and more efficient engines,uprated transmission,larger rotors,a longer tail boom and uprated cargo hook.

It shall be a true multirole aircraft which,in combat ready condition,with countermeasures,armour and three eighths inch machineguns,shall be able to lift a payload of eight long tons to a radius of fifty miles or be fitted for search and rescue or naval warfare.

The Ultra Merlin shall be a further development of the Super Merlin with a composite airframe,which shall permit a twelve foot longer cabin with no increase in weight,thereby making more efficient use of the helicopter's weight lifting abilities when transporting low density internal payloads such as infantry.

Photo: United States Army Spc. Teddy Wade

The Ultra Merlin shall be able to carry a ten man infantry section,in marching order,internally and a Light Protected Truck as a sling load or two infantry sections internally and two Field Cars as sling loads or four infantry sections internally and two Oxen as sling loads or six infantry sections (two on the cabin floor) in,assault order,internally with day sacks as sling loads.

The Super or Ultra Merlins which shall be used by the Royal Navy,Royal Marines and British Army shall all be identical and shall be drawn from a common fleet,however,British Army squadrons shall not receive the weapons,sensors or training needed for naval warfare (such as sonars,torpedoes and depth charges) although they shall be trained in "large deck" ship operations.

Due to their wide radius of operation,lack of strategic mobility and need for secure base areas and lines of communication,Army Super or Ultra Merlin helicopter squadrons shall be formed into three Regiments which shall make up a Helicopter Brigade held as part of an Army level Flying Division,being allocated to the Light Infantry Division as and when required.

Permanently attaching helicopters to airborne units would cripple both assets,no competent general would permit such an arrangement.

Approximately two hundred Super Merlin or Ultra Merlin helicopters shall replace larger numbers of Puma,Chinook,Merlin,Wildcat and Apache helicopters,about half of these would be operated by the British Army,the rest by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

Photo: POA (Phot) Owen King

It should be noted that the Super Merlin or Ultra Merlin helicopter could have been in service many years ago had senior British politicians,civil servants and military officers not wasted vast sums of money on the Wildcat,Puma,Apache and Chinook.

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