In 1960-1961, trials with the Saunders-Roe P.531 were carried out at RAE Bedford and onboard the HMS Undaunted to assess a range of deck landing systems and operation from small ships. The results from these trials are accepted as the starting point for the understanding of small ship operations. These trials led to the UK Royal Navy’s Westland Wasp derivative of the UK Army’s Scout, and was the progenitor of the maritime capabilities of the AgustaWestland Lynx, Wildcat and Merlin to this day.
(Sauders-Roe became part of Westland Aircraft in 1959 and was dissolved in 1964. Westland merged with Agusta in 2000.)
By David Gibbings