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Merlin smart mortar round

Firefly 2

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I haven't found a lot of info regarding this project. It first intrigued when I read about in BSP4.

So I started browsing the web.

Global Defence had this to say:

The British Royal Ordnance 81mm Merlin millimetric radar guided round was one of the first- generation smart mortar rounds. It was developed at considerable expense by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) but a production order was never placed because of the high cost of the weapon.
So it was a guided mortar round useable with a bog standard mortar ( thus, probably with any 81 mm mortar). Great idea. Unlike the Russian ( Soviet) laser-guided 240mm 1K113 Smelchak and 120mm Kitolov-2M this Merlin round would have been a fire and forget anti-tank round. This made total sense back in the days when Armageddon would have looked like huge formations of Soviet tanks and APC's cruising through Germany.



I then came upon this folder ( attachments) and the following image:


Given the fact that a search revealed no thread regarding Merlin, I thought I'd share this with y'all. Does anybody have an idea of the range of the Merlin round?
 

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Pioneer

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Thanks Firefly

I always thought it a great pity that the Merlin round was never fielded.
I did time (2-years) as a mortarman, before moving on to be an Assault Pioneer!
During that time as a mortarman, we were told that the Australian Army was interested in the capability of the Merlin round!
It would have made for a great bunker-buster!
Hell, if the Merlin was able to deliver on what it promised, it would have possibly meant fewer rounds to man-pack and prep, for given targets engaged.

I wonder if they could perfect it, with the technology we now have.
Make it a more multi-role round!
Give it a laser-guided seeker head, which will allow targets to be illuminated by infantry in the field and in contact with an enemy!!!

P.S. Do you know What the given reason for the cancellation of the Merlin program?
When was the program cancelled?
Do you know of any footage of Merlin being fired and target impact?


Regards
Pioneer
 

Kadija_Man

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I understand the reason why the Merlin was cancelled was because of economy. It was a round designed specifically to counter tanks. I can't see how it would have worked against bunkers, with its millimetre guidance system. Because it was designed primarily for the defensive battle against attacking WarPac hordes of tanks, when the Cold War ended, it was felt that its utility against other targets was too limited and so its development was discontinued.
 

RLBH

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Apparently, Merlin had a range of 4km. Guidance was by millimetric radar, seeking its' own target within a 330 x 330 yard (300m x 300m) area at the top of the trajectory. Service entry was projected 'in the 1990s'.

Source: Missile Systems, Philip Birtles and Paul Beaver (Ian Allan Ltd, 1985)
 

Firefly 2

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Pioneer said:
Thanks Firefly

I always thought it a great pity that the Merlin round was never fielded.
I did time (2-years) as a mortarman, before moving on to be an Assault Pioneer!
During that time as a mortarman, we were told that the Australian Army was interested in the capability of the Merlin round!
It would have made for a great bunker-buster!
Hell, if the Merlin was able to deliver on what it promised, it would have possibly meant fewer rounds to man-pack and prep, for given targets engaged.

I wonder if they could perfect it, with the technology we now have.
Make it a more multi-role round!
Give it a laser-guided seeker head, which will allow targets to be illuminated by infantry in the field and in contact with an enemy!!!

P.S. Do you know What the given reason for the cancellation of the Merlin program?
When was the program cancelled?
Do you know of any footage of Merlin being fired and target impact?


Regards
Pioneer
Thank you :)

As I understand it there where severe problems in reducing the size of the millimetric radar components to a sufficient level for use in a round that has a max diameter of 81mm, it was feasable but costly and of course would delay the programme for a considerable while.
It was basicly cancelled the day the Berlin wall came down.
I still wonder if the research done for this project wasn't used for the Brimstone seeker.
 

JFC Fuller

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BAeD had an agreement with Thomson-Brandt to extend the Merlin technology to 120mm mortars. If the system could have been made to work with the Royal Ordnance AMS mounted on a Warrior, combined with the MSTAR equipped FV514 it would have made an interesting contribution to the wider anti-tank effort.
 

eshelon

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81 mm rocket with Merlin seeker concept
source: Flight Interantional 30 October - 5 November 1991
 

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