U.K. Merlin Mk4 helicopter makes maiden flight

Royal Marines' newest bird offers better operations at sea than the Mk3 it replaces.

By Geoff Ziezulewicz 
The U.K. Royal Marines' newest helicopter, the Merlin Mk4, took to the skies for the first time last week, the service announced Friday. U.K. Royal Navy photo
 
The U.K. Royal Marines' newest helicopter, the Merlin Mk4, took to the skies for the first time last week, the service announced Friday.
It replaces the Mk3 and is better adapted to commando operations and operations at sea and is slated to be the mainstay of the Commando Helicopter Force for the next decade, the service said in a statement.
The maiden flight took place after workers at Leonardo finished turning a Mk3 into a Mk4.
The Mk4 offers speed and range capabilities that reflect the modern battlefield and can operate off of warships or on land.
Its folding main rotor head and folding tail make it better suited to operate from carriers and assault ships.
The Mk4 also offers an improved avionics suite and is slated to be ready for operations by late 2017, with all 25 helicopters in the fleet scheduled to enter service by the end of 2020.
Currently, the two troop-carrying squadrons of the Commando Helicopter Force fly Mk3 andf Mk3i helicopters.
U.K. Merlin Mk4 helicopter makes maiden flight Reviewed by Bizpodia on 21:42 Rating: 5

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