Royal Marines with M Company, 42 Commando, shelter as a RAF Merline Mk.3 helicopter lifts off during Exercise Black Alligator in the Mojave Desert, U.S.A., 2012.
Bootnecks being transported by Merlins will become a more common sight when the Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) replaces the Sea King Mk.4 Commando helicopters with Merlin Commando variants in 2016. CHF Merlins will have upgraded avionics, including digital glass cockpits. They will also have a number modifications to enable them to support 3 Commando Brigade amphibious operations. These mods include folding main rotors and tail sections, deck lashing points and a fast-rope point to facilitate Royal Marine ship boarding ops.