MBDAs Marte ER anti-ship missile has completed its second firing carried out at the PISQ (Poligono Interforze del Salto di Quirra) test range in Sardinia.

This firing confirmed the overall design and performance of the missile marking a critical milestone in its development path.

“Compared to the first firing, which took place at the end of 2018, several additional features and functionalities were tested. These included an integrated navigation system, proximity fly-over fuze, with weapon controller and actuation system in advanced configuration. The missile also featured the terminal guidance with a new seeker, engineered and developed by the MBDA Seeker Division.

The floating target was hit with “almost zero” miss distance after a flight of about 100 km. The missile pushed its envelope to the limit with several major manoeuvres including very low sea skimming at very high speed. Hitting the target confirmed the perfect behavior of the missile and the telemetry system recorded a huge amount of data. Flight data showed very good alignment with simulation outcomes.”

The Marte ER programme is progressing at full speed in order to meet customers’ requirements and the full integration of Marte ER on the Eurofighter Typhoon platform is proceeding at pace in order to implement an anti-ship capability onto the fighter.

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I don’t suppose anyone knows if this will fit into the weapons bay of an F-35B? I know it’s not completely necessary for a long-range anti-ship missile, but still worth knowing. Not sure whether it’d be worth getting it cleared for use on that platform, but could it be an alternative to the JSM?
I really do think that our primary carrier-bourne strike aircraft should have an anti-ship capability that is large enough to deal with a large surface combatant…

Nigel Collins

Thanks Nigel, an interesting piece- I thought the NSM was cheaper than LRASM! I would personally still choose the NSM/JSM, because it is already cleared/suitable for every platform we have (including surface vessels) except Typhoon (although I think Kongsberg said they were looking into doing that too), which makes integration much simpler. I know LRASM provides a bigger bang from further away, but that’s what Perseus is for. I know that there is some concern about compromising F-35B stealth with external carriage, but NSM is a stealthy missile on a stealthy rail, and the radar horizon at sea makes detection… Read more »

Glass Half full

I’d stick with your previous thoughts 🙂 The STRN article is 3 years old and even at that I wonder where they obtained the <$1M price tag for LRASM, which seems extraordinarily low. LRASM is ~$3-4M each, based on US budget documents, (you can track back to the US govt sources from Wikipedia source links if interested). NSM is ~$1.3M based on the 2018 initial order of 12 for LCS by USN. I also seem to recall seeing a sub-$1M figure for NSM/JSM but cannot recall when/where, so I'll stick with the higher number. In any event NSM ~ 1/3… Read more »


Thanks, yes, I’m seeing the same kind of pricing for LRASM on an internet search- NSM/JSM it is then!
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/32277/here-is-what-each-of-the-pentagons-air-launched-missiles-and-bombs-actually-cost if you’re interested in a breakdown on the latest US pricing for missiles.
Yes, networked teams are a major consideration these days, definitely worth thinking about! That’s also a method of using P-8s safely as launch platforms too, I suppose.


I’m afraid NSM and JSM are not cleared on any UK owned or operated platform. NSM has not been integrated with any UK CMS for naval use. This would need to happen before the UK could deploy it. Not that hard to do, but it is a consideration. JSM is not yet cleared for anything operationally. It is scheduled to be integrated onto F-35 for Blk.IV but it hasn’t happened yet. Integration to P-8 was apparently going to be funded by the Australians but it has gone very quiet on that subject. The RAAF are buying JSM for F-35, but… Read more »


Thanks, I should have known it wouldn’t be as simple as all that..!
I should have said; I knew that the NSM isn’t currently cleared for an RN vessel, but the cannister launched and Mk41-launched types would be easy additions, was more where I was going. I know that’s not what I actually typed though.
Agreed with where you suggest we should go with our weaponry mix.


Yeah, the RAF trained hard with ASM previously as it had to face the soviet northern fleet, but now virtually the entire Russian surface fleet is gone. We don’t have enough Typhoons to cover existing taskings much less make new ones. If there is an off the shelf cheap solution for F35 B and P8 then makes sense to buy it as those are the actual naval strike platforms however they should be bought sparingly unless they can have secondary strike use. Realistically we have never employed such a weapon in anger and probably never will so spending billions makes… Read more »

Mr Bell

Although I agree with most of what you are stating Martin, I am still of the mindset that distributed lethality is the way forward. Therefore having NSM for F35Bs, Poseidon makes sense, I would think an order for 100-200 missiles would suffice for air launched version and give the carrier strike concept the ability to sink ships at distance. Eurofighter typhoon equipped with Marte ER??? Not sure its necessary but if price was correct (less than a million £ each) then a small order of 50 to 100 missiles for RAF inventory would be a “nice to have” but not… Read more »


I don’t disagree but unless the money tree has regrown at the MOD paying for 100 to 200 NSM( I’m guessing you mean air launched version JSM) is going to cost at least the same as a type 31 frigate so what gets cut to pay for it. Also JSM won’t fit inside F35b and it’s a bit short ranged for external carriage stand off and also who would we ever be shooting 100-200 missiles at. If your going to buy of the shelf then air launched LRASM makes more sense with longer range and integration on P8 it also… Read more »

Robert Blay

Hi Martin, excellent comments, not many on this site that have common sense and have a grasp on how much all these toys actually cost, and do we actually need them. I’d rather we spend more money on cyber security, then an anti ship missile that will probably never be used. Have a good one. 👍


“As there are decent off the shelf ASM out there already why are we still going ahead with perseus? ” We’re not going ahead with Perseus. That was just an MBDA concept, like Hoplite. FCASW is also a replacement for Storm Shadow/SCALP EG and eventually MdCN. MBDA’s most recent proposals are of 2 different missiles, which share things like sensors, to fulfil the FCASW requirement. A stealthy, subsonic, long range missile and a supersonic missile. Which makes a lot of sense. The missiles would replace Tomahawk, Storm Shadow/SCALP, MdCN eventually, Exocet and Harpoon. And also add some new capabilities (extreme… Read more »


Agree Perseus on its own was always flawed, you can have high speed or Long range and stealth but not both. The requirement should always have been for two weapons.

Paul T

Purely a guess but id say no – although the fact that it will be integrated on Typhoon might prove to be a bonus in future years.NSM should suffice for F35b for now.


Thanks, I’m broadly of the same opinion. The price on the LRASM for what you get is a big draw though…!


JSM integration to Typhoon needs someone to pay for it.
And no-one has shown any interest.


With the integration of NSM/JSM on F35s with a Block 4+ update, I think we’d be stupid not to go with it. Marte ER falls into the same category as Harpoon, RBS15 and Exocet and is only the lighter side of the bunch. It uses active radar homing to find and track its target. It does have a data-link but I can’t find any info on if it’s two way or just one way. For me, the issue here is that NSM/JSM is going to be integrated on platforms that we also operate namely the F35 and P8 Poseidon. It… Read more »


Yep, with you on all of that!


JSM is only going to get integrated on P-8 if someone pays for it. The RAAF was looking at it a few years ago, but it has not been heard of since. The US is now paying for LRASM integration to P-8 and the Australians have ordered LRASM. So it looks like P-8 integration is a non-starter, unless the Norwegians pay for it. Which they won’t.

Steve R

I agree fully. Our anti-ship capability must come from as many platforms as possible: underwater, through our submarines. On the surface from our frigates & destroyers armed with anti-ship missiles, and in the air, from F35s (from carriers) and also P8 Poseidon and Typhoons, who could launch from fixed air bases and attack targets out at sea. Seems criminal to me that our only reliable anti-ship platforms at the moment are the Astutes and Trafalgars. We have Harpoon missiles but obsolete and can’t be relied on in anything less than all-out war in the middle of the open sea, as… Read more »


The UK currently operates Harpoon in the anti ship missile role but it is out of date and needs replacement. RN desperately needs these missiles delivered quickly or they will have to buy US LRASM. Get a move on folks.

8 X on T45 & T26 and minimum of 4 X on T31. Could also do with some F35 launched variants and some for the attack submarines.


Yeah Japanese submarines have the harpoon missile
, shame the Royal Navy lost this ability a few years back, we need it again, fast torpedoes can only go so far. We do have tomahawk Atleast.


Tomahawk is far too slow to be a credible threat to any enemy vessel. Its not like we could even overwhelm it with pure numbers as we couldn’t launch that many fast enough.


I’m on about tomahawk for land atacks… not against ships.


LRASM is I think the best option out there. In fact we should cancel perseus and bulk buy LRASM for our surface vessels and aircraft. It does eveything we need and it’s available now as opposed to 10 years time…..

Meirion X

LRASM will require Mk. 41 VLS to launch it from warships, too big for Harpoon tubes.
The RN will Not have Mk 41 in service yet, not until 2027.


LRASM has been demonstrated a few years ago in an angled canister launch by LM so its perfectly feasible. But its worth noting that with a booster on LRASM is 3x heavier than Harpoon. That sort of thing can cause issues with topweight on warships. It definitely wouldn’t be a 1 for 1 replacement.
Personally I think the contest got the interim missile is between NSM and Harpoon II, with an edge to Harpoon II.


Wow 100km that’s a nice distance for a missile this size. We have to add this to the royal navys ships and definitely the type 31.


Ooops I got confused with Martlet missile!! Lol


Does anybody know the range of a ship launched sea spear?


Sea Spear would have a c40km max range. But Sea Spear is the name already in use for a ship launched Brimstone missile…

A surface launched Spear (as in the mini cruise missile) could go out to c150km+. It would need a rocket booster to get up to speed. If it was lengthened to take advantage of the extra space in a Sea Ceptor silo it could go out to 250km.


Thanks Rudeboy.

My question referred to mbda’s brimstone derived sea spear. I could find range for both fast jet and helicopter launched versions, but nothing on surface launched.

In a round about way I was trying to work out how far a vehicle launched army version of brimstone could go and if it could be used for a small mrls-type system for light/strike infantry.


Have a look at this…60km range…the uses of this for British forces would be endless…



Yes basically that. Has medium ranger overwatch like fv102 striker but with 40km+ range for attacking large armoured formations using the millimeter wave seeker. Was thinking of around 9 vehicles per boxer battalion, with a hope of 12 missiles per vehicle. I was impressed the rapid firing rate in the surfaced launched sea spear video. A battalion could launch all 108 missiles in a few seconds with very little heat signature and scoot away. I would not want the missile to be too big to inhibit easy reloading in the field. Not really sure if the uk army needs such… Read more »

Simon m

Could be a useful addition to Merlin although JSM probably better & could be deployed underwing on F35 as well.

Possibly if the RAF want to get in to the game again this could be a cheap option.

Would be nice if when we next sent a typhoon to intercept a Russian warship that it could display we could actually do something about said warship if needed.

Nigel Collins

External only it appears as you say.

“Earlier checks confirmed that two JSMs can fit in the internal weapons bay of the F-35A, although the short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing F-35B can only carry the missile on its external weapons stations.

The company says the JSM adds standoff land-attack capability features such as low observability, agility and flexibility. An imaging infrared target seeker is used to identify a target. The missile has a range of up to 300 nautical miles in a high-high-low flight profile.”



So an F35B can get to within say 300 miles of a target and let loose, then be nowhere near an enemy ship’s defensive systems. Assuming of course the enemy ship isn’t an aircraft carrier. If it was then use an SSN instead.


If the mission was to disable a carrier, granted a sub would be ideal, but we don’t have a plethora of those, so the F35B would be our next choice. Even if the carrier had an AEW aircraft, the F35 should be able to get well within range of the the carrier to launch a NSM. The frontal aspect of the F35B has the lower RCS, so the aircraft just needs to fly towards the AEW aircraft, launch a Meteor and the coast is relatively clear. Pop up above the horizon to locate the carrier, pop back down again and… Read more »

Mr Bell

Agree a pack of F35Bs with NSM or LRASM would deliver a real carrier killer ability. Especially if carriers AEW and CAP screen removed by meteor equipped advanced sweepers.