The AFU General Staff reported the destruction of a rare Russian Merlin-BP drone. Since the beginning of the invasion, a drone of this model has been shot down in the sky over Ukraine only once.
According to Defense Express, the Merlin-BP UAV premiered in early fall 2021. The manufacturer claims that the aircraft is equipped with a hybrid engine, which is characterized by "low acoustic visibility." If the need arises, it switches to electric propulsion.
The drone can continuously stay in the sky for 10 hours. The carrying capacity of the drone is 6.5 kg. There is no data on the serial production of Merlin-BP in public sources. The first drone of this model was shot down by AFU fighters in June last year with small arms.
While dismantling the downed drone, it turned out that the information about the hybrid engine was unreliable. Inside the drone, Ukrainian specialists found a regular gasoline engine and a plastic canister instead of a fuel tank. The drone is equipped with a thermal imager with a French-made Lynred matrix and an Israeli lens.
Apparently, Russian military-industrial complex enterprises experience difficulties in acquiring foreign-made components. It is for this reason that the Merlin-BP drone has not been put into production.
Author - Serhii Kolomiets, 22/01/2023