A Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter has successfully conducted the first test-firing of a Martlet missile.

Martlet, also known as the Lightweight Multirole Missile, has already been tested from frigate HMS Sutherland. The missile is a lightweight, precision strike multirole missile designed to be fired from a variety of platforms on Land, Sea and Air against a wide range of targets.

According to a Royal Navy news release:

“Blasting from a Wildcat helicopter, the new Martlet missile was this week tested on a range off the coast of Wales. In 0.3 seconds, the missile detached from the Wildcat HMA Mk2 helicopter, accelerating to one and a half times the speed of sound.

The trials mark an important milestone in the testing of the new system which will arm the Wildcat helicopters that deploy as part of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s maiden operational deployment next year.”

Wildcat helicopter with the Martlet missiles during the trials
Image Crown Copyright 2020.

Commander Matt Boulind Royal Navy, the Wildcat Maritime Force Commander, was quoted as saying:

“This test firing shows the Wildcat helicopter will be ready to help defend our Queen Elizabeth-class carriers and their strike groups for years to come.The Royal Navy and Army introduced Wildcat helicopters into service five years ago and the firing of the Martlet this week is a very significant milestone and represents a huge success for the joint industry and MoD team. This firing underpins future Royal Navy offensive capability and the defence of the surface fleet.”

Image via Thales.

The manufacturers say that up to 20 Martlet missiles can be loaded onto a Wildcat helicopter to provide a robust defence against swarm threats.

According to Thales here:

“Built in Belfast, LMM has already been proven its capability as a high-accuracy precision weapon against small, fast-moving targets when fired from a tripod launcher (LMLNG), a mobile wheeled vehicle (RAPIDRanger) and the Stormer tracked vehicle.

Wildcat helicopter with the Martlet missiles during the trials
Image Crown Copyright 2020.

Under the name Martlet, LMM is also being supplied to the Royal Navy, under the Future Anti Surface Guided Weapon (Light), or FASGW(L), programme, fitted to the Navy’s Wildcat Helicopter. An integration programme is due to be completed in 2020. The system also demonstrated its versatility live firings involving a range of platforms, conditions and targets and in three domains.”

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Cam
Cam
4 months ago

Great to see, should we fit them to every Royal Navy 30mm gun? And our destroyers wildcats, he’ll could we fit two wildcats on our destroyers? And that’s an extra 40+ missiles it can carry, what missiles do we routinely carry for RN helicopters just now if any?

FRS
FRS
4 months ago
Reply to  Cam

Definitely add them to 30mm guns, wildcats and S100 copter that go in container mode on the opvs. Good fight back v’s swarms etc.

GWM
GWM
4 months ago
Reply to  Cam

None at the moment since the lynx retired,one of the MOD’s so called capability holidays to save money.There is not enough money to support two helicopters on a 45 or 23 even though they can accommodate them.It would be logical to fit the martlet (hate that name) to the 8 type 23’s 30mm guns that host Merlins and the other major units like carriers,LPD’s but again money’s the problem.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  GWM

It wasn’t really to save money. Sea Venom was supposed to arrive before the disappearance of the remaining Lynx/Sea Skua. Delays (primarily due to France) caused the gap. Martlet has taken a little longer than expected to arrive, which may have been due to funding however.

GWM
GWM
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

In respect to Venom your correct but Martlet is not being used by France so to save money they decided to do the integration work at the same time,martlet has been available for some time and could have been in use already.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  GWM

There were certainly test firings but then silence. But I’m not sure if it was ready for service, we’ve only seen firings from pedestal mounts with the RM and the DS30’s very recently. If it had been totally ready we’d have seen those a little earlier whilst waiting for the separate Wildcat firings.

GWM
GWM
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

Development was completed and an order placed for 1000 missiles in 2013 so it’s nearly 7 years wasted.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
4 months ago
Reply to  GWM

GWM I think the addition of Martlett missiles onto the ds30m mounts is not all that expensive, low cost option of adding a significant weight of fire to a frigate, destroyer, lpd, RFA, carrier etc to protect against small to medium sized surface threats.
Any vessel should approach a martlett armed ship with caution as a few hits by this missiles could really ruin your ship if they hit in a sensitive area.

GWM
GWM
4 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

We shall have to wait and see,no indication yet an order has been placed.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  GWM

Thats true, and even more so in these straitened times. But the indications are that its a comparatively small mod. The targeting is from the existing offboard E/O turrets and the missiles are attached in the standard 5 round pod. By the looks of it it needs a bracket to the mount, some wiring and inevitably some software mods so could be so cheap that its a no brainer.

Joe16
Joe16
4 months ago
Reply to  Cam

I’d love the DS-30 mounts to be fitted as standard with at least the conenction mounts for the Martlet too.
I’d also like to see the same done for the 40 mm mounts on the T31, and maybe the 57 mm. Those are both international standard fit mounts, as far as I’m aware, which might open up a little international interest. Particularly if the South Koreans use them, as weell as Wildcat, they may be interested in a comon missile. Just spitballing at this point!

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

The 40mm and 57mm are enclosed mounts, to attach a small number of Martlets would be expensive and fairly pointless particularly given the range of the 57mm. You’d also have to conduct a series of trials, particularly around over-pressure, shock and blast from a 57mm. Far easier just to mount a standard 3 round pedestal mount elsewhere on the ship and put some stabilisation system on. But even then with 57mm why would you bother? It makes sense as an additional system for ships that have 30mm DS-30 and nothing in between that and the 4.5inch gun or just have… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

Ah, fair enough, thanks for that! I didn’t appreciate the overlap between the 57 mm and Martlet, and I’m sure the 57 mm is more cost effective.
I guess that makes Martlet a little redundant for the T31, other than as an armament for the embarked helicopter then?

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

The South Koreans is a potential market as they only have the Spike NLOS as a missile on the Wildcat (and only 4 of them, and they are really, really expensive). However the South Koreans would probably look to integrate the K-LOGIR (a guided rocket kit like APKWS), they’re already planning to use this to counter North Korean fast attack craft and have it mounted on vehicles for this purpose.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-Cost_Guided_Imaging_Rocket

Joe16
Joe16
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

Ah, so they probably wouldn’t bother then. Unless the Martlet fills a gap between K-LOGIR and Spike, I guess it’s not worth it. Especially as I doubt they use DS-30 mounts on their surface vessels…

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago

Excellent news! Wildcat with its range and search radar + Martlet gives frigates, RFA’s and even the odd R2 over-the-horizon sea control against the pesky Iranian fast attack craft plus some ability to provide close air support to a small expeditionary force. Now roll on Sea Venom to fend off the corvettes and NSM to deter peer frigates.

Liam
Liam
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Could a Martlet or two pose problems for a corvette or frigate? Not to sink but to perhaps disable?

Paul T
Paul T
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam

Liam – Certainly,if a Wildcat can safely fire the Missiles and they hit the Target it would provide many problems for those types of Ship.

Cam
Cam
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Not sure if the wildcat would survive any ship with good defensive weapons, does wildcats have defensive aids? I know Merlins do. Gosh I have far too many questions!!

Cam
Cam
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam

I’m sure they would cause some problematic damage to most frigates or destroyers , maybe a barrage of say 5 on the same spot like the bridge, not sure if they can fire multiple one after another and if so would they all follow the one laser guide, not sure if they are armour piercing either.

Frank62
Frank62
4 months ago
Reply to  Cam

Wildcats are suppoed to have both missiles, so if facing a larger vessel would likely be equipped mainly with sea venom unless fast small boats were likely. They might be handy if attempting to overwhelm a target ship’s CIWS with a swarm attack though to give the larger ASMs a better chance of getting through.

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam

Happy to be corrected by those with more knowledge but my understanding is that Martlet is designed to kill rhibs, fast attack craft and lightly armoured vehicles like APCs. It has a range of 5 miles and is laser guided. I interpret these data to mean that the target has nothing better than a GPMG or a RPG to threaten the Wildcat. A Khareef class corvette for example carries VL Mica missiles with an interception range of 20km so to safely strike a typical corvette the Wildcat would need Sea Venom, longer range, heavier warhead and with an imaging seeker… Read more »

Cam
Cam
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Yeah they are designed for small craft and light vehicles ect, but my point about striking a frigate or destroyer was about the missile doing any damage if it did. I know the wildcat wouldn’t survive if it did atack them and wildcat with market would never take on sucbut I’m sure damage would be done if market hit with a barrage even if light damage.

Cam
Cam
4 months ago
Reply to  Cam

Dam no edit!! Anyway. “I know wildcat With marlet would never take on such ships as frigates and destroyers” was what I tried to write before it uploaded itself! Marlets a light missile for light duties and I hope it serves our millitary in this role admirably. Let’s hope we can get some real heavy anti ship/land punch on our ships soon, with so few ships you would think that would be easy enough.

Steve H
Steve H
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam

It could do mate but the range of the LMM (I hate the word “Martlet) is an issue for this task. Its maximum range is about 8KM……or 5 miles in old money…. so a warships defensive assets would easily be able to spot the helicopter and deal with it.
This is a shame as it seems to be a fairly decent, very adaptable, accurate, hard hitting missile.

Steve H
Steve H
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam

And I also forgot that it isn’t able to penetrate the sides of larger warships, it’s only good enough for the tiddlers……. I’m not slating it, I’m just being realistic. It will be deployed on the Wildcats, probably on some destroyers and Frigates, possibly somewhere on the carriers and its going to a few Royal Artillery units as well.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve H

The war head will penetrate pretty much any surface combatant out there as it has a partial HEAT warhead. It would do little damage though unless it hit something really vital.

Daveyb
Daveyb
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam

Yes, Martlet could pose a threat to a heavier ship. But its all to do with the context. In open water the Wildcat, even down at sea level should be seen by an up to date 3D and tracking radars if it’s flying on the ship’s side of the horizon, therefore putting it at risk from the ship’s anti-aircraft systems. Especially if the ship is armed with a missile system that can out-range the Martlet. However, if the Wildcat is armed with 20 Martlets as the above image shows. Releasing them all together in a barrage will cause significant problems… Read more »

Sean
Sean
4 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Great, well thought out, comment. 👍🏻

Steve Taylor
Steve Taylor
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam
Helions
Helions
4 months ago

Speaking of firing (slightly heavier) missiles…

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/05/20/b-1-bomber-may-become-new-face-us-military-power-pacific.html

Happy Memorial Day from across The Pond!

Cam
Cam
4 months ago
Reply to  Helions

Happy Memorial Day mate.

Nicholas
Nicholas
4 months ago

‘This firing underpins future Royal Navy offensive capability and the defence of the surface fleet.’

Whilst welome I have to say that if such a light missile represents our main weapon against surface targets (post Harpoon) then we will not be frightening anybody.

Cam
Cam
4 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

Isn’t it just for small targets, but if it’s all we have on our ships choppers would or should we use it against surface targets like warships, im not so sure.

Nicholas
Nicholas
4 months ago
Reply to  Cam

Its predecessor (Sea Skua) was used a number of times on smaller craft with very good success (Falklands and first Gulf war). The Martlet is going to be better than the Skua and the Wildcat can carry many more than the 4 Skua the Lynx could carry.
The downside is that any frigate carrying a Wildcat won’t be able to carry a Merlin for ASW duty.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
4 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

Venom’s the new Skua, with Martlet being the more cost effective answer to them pesky ol’ swarms.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

There are 2 missiles to be carried by Wildcat. Both under the FASGW (Future Anti Ship Guided Weapons) programme umbrella: FASGW(L) – Martlet (originally called LMM) – 8km range, targets small boats, helicopters, UAV’s. Carried in packs of 5 with up to 20. FASGW(H) – Sea Venom. Replacement for Sea Skua. Max load of 4. Targets Corvettes, Frigates and coastal sites. MoD say 20km range…but expect reality to be at least double… Apart from that Martlet can carry GPMG, M3M .50 cal, Depth Charges and Stingray. Whats clearly missing are fixed guns (either MG or cannon), unguided rockets and Brimstone… Read more »

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

I should add that Starstreak integration to Wildcat could also be comparatively easy now that LMM is onboard…and Starstreak has been fired from Helo’s before (US Army trialled it on Apache).

Joe16
Joe16
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

Out of interest, how does Sea Venom compare to Brimstone? It always frustrates me that the UK armed forces rarely fully integrate weapons systems across entire fleets (Brimstone, LMM and Sea Venom being prime examples). Surely those 3 missiles in particular would be prime for use on all of our rotary wing platforms at the very least?
It seems like a real wasted opportunity not to fully integrate between fleets, although I understand it is quite expensive. It can’t be that expensive, surely? Is it that much of a big deal, either?

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

Sea Venom has a bigger warhead (30kg vs 9kg). Brimstone is obviously much smaller but will have a similar range from rotary wing (don’t believe the MoD’s figures for Sea Venom of 20km…expect 50km). I’m sure the forces would love to have Brimstone on Wildcat (particularly the Army and CHF ones) but until the 50 Apache E are delivered I suspect they’ll avoid it. They don’t want to give the Treasury any ideas… Priority next should be on integrating comparatively simple weapons to Wildcat, such as unguided rockets and gun pods. That would give the Army and CHF ones a… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

Thanks.
Yes, I did read somewhere that Merlin wasn’t going to get Martlet and Sea Venom, which as you say is a bit of a missed step. Is that because of a lack of hard points? I thought they carried Stingray toropedoes, so assumed they at least had some kind of connection point- even if it isn’t immediately suitable for a missile…

Julian
Julian
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

I was wondering about Starstreak but more in the context of the discussions here about adding Martlet launchers to the DS30 mounts for RFA & RN vessels. As I understand it (AIUI) Starstreak can be fired from the same launchers although the laser grid designator is totally different to Martlet I think so capability to target-designate for Starstreak would need to be added. I was wondering whether with, again,ASUI, DS30 and Phalanx having limited range/effectiveness against air targets (except of course for Phalanx’s close-in missile interception capability), whether using 1 or 2 tubes on a DS30 mount for Starstreak, particularly… Read more »

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
3 months ago
Reply to  Julian

Yes the Starstreak needs an on-mount designator that provides the appropriate designation for it. This was originally addressed in the MSI Sigma Seahawk, that in addition to the 7 missiles carried alongside the 30mm also have an E/O sensor mounted on the other side.
To be honest you have to wonder just how far such a system is away from being a full CIWS system, which Starstreak was proposed for a long time ago. Once you’ve got E/O, 3 axis stabilisation, gun and missile all you’ll need is a radar sensor and you’re there.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

Gulf mod Lynx had 50 cal gun pods fitted on the carriers along with lots of other goodies This gave the lynx a cost effective weapon to hit speed boats etc with. A lot cheaper than a 7A mod Ultra Low Level Skua would have been.
Should be no reason why a wildcat cannot get it fitted although the Gun Pod did cause some airframe panel damage during trials. A new muzzle brake and silver speed tape fixed the issue.!

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Have a look at the picture linked below…Lynx 3 from 1984 (Wldcat’s descendent). 20 mm cannon mounted next to the fuselage, port side. I suspect that cannon may cause some more considerable panel damage…..

But then also have a look at the grey painted naval Lynx 3 mockup to the left…Wildcat in 1984…36 years ago.

https://abpic.co.uk/pictures/view/1201243

Hellfire as well…only fit trialled on Lynx 3, along with fixed forward firing miniguns, 2x20mm cannon, Stinger missiles and rockets of various types.

Stephen Hayes
Stephen Hayes
1 month ago
Reply to  Nicholas

In the Falklands war an Argentine patrol boat was hit by 2 Sea Skuas which have a warhead ten times the size of Martlet and it still managed to reach a friendly port! Martlet will only be any good against tiny suicide craft.

Sceptical Richard
Sceptical Richard
4 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

Sea Venom will be a lot heavier

Nicholas
Nicholas
4 months ago

When is it due?

RobW
RobW
4 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

Late 2021.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

About 2 years away. Initial drop tests and firing campaign underway.

Cam
Cam
4 months ago

yeah, I can’t wait to see it in action

Steve H
Steve H
4 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

Yes, it’s a capable, decent, versatile missile but………. as you said, it’s not going to make the Russians or Chinese Navies poo their pants. If they could adapt it to be a bit more powerful then it might pose more of a threat, an interesting point is that they’ve transformed an LMM into a free fall bomb and they’ve pitched it to the US.

Steve R
Steve R
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve H

Martlet could easily take out the Russian carrier Kuznetzov… just aim for its tug!

Steve
Steve
4 months ago

When you look at the offensive capability of the blackhawk and compare to the merlin/wildcat it is clear that up gunning is required, not just for naval operations, but also to support the marines. For sure Apache can provide this, but would be useful to have flexibility in an era where raw numbers of platforms is a major problem

Nicholas
Nicholas
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

I think we need to look at lethality across all our platforms, the MoD/armed forces will need to get over their fear of overlapping capabilities. Of course money is a major limiter but the navy needs to be recapitalised. Look at all the money created from nothing over the course of the current crisis. Doubling the defence budget for 5-10 years wouldn’t be that hard and a lot og the money would come back anyway.

Steve R
Steve R
4 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

To be honest the defence budget wouldn’t even need doubling, even temporarily. An extra £5 billion per year would do absolute wonders for defence!

Julian
Julian
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

Absolutely. Does anyone know what percentage of the current annual defence budget goes towards new equipment programs vs running costs (salaries, maintenance of existing equipment, consumables, etc)? Even if only £2bn per year of your example £5bn extra per year was allocated to new equipment programs with the rest going to extra personnel & other annual running costs for that extra equipment that’s an extra £20bn over the next 10 years. Say the RN got £8bn of that (although I suspect RN might well get a bigger chunk) that buys a lot of extra stuff. E.g. if T31 as currently… Read more »

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Which Blackhawk though?….there are lots of different versions, with different weapons fit, and they’re not interchangeable. Here’s a comparison ASW MH-60R – 2 Torps or 2 DC’s or mix Merlin – 4 Torps or 4 DC’s or mix Not much of a contest there…and thats before we get to fuel, radars and sensors etc. Merlin in a different league. AShM MH-60R – 4 Hellfire or 2 Penguin or mix Wildcat – 4 Sea Venom or 20 Martlet or mix Penguin is ancient, the Hellfire are good, but are neither fish nor fowl in AShM terms, too big for speedboats and… Read more »

Steve
Steve
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

This is fair.

what we need is to up arm the merlin (what is the odds of having a merlin and wildcat both operating off a destroyer or frigate), so they also carry Marlet / sea venom. We do not have enough platforms for dedicated roles, and so we need to get more utility out of what we have.

Rob
Rob
4 months ago

The Wildcat, when tooled up like this, looks properly mean…

dan
dan
4 months ago

Happy Memorial Day! Never forget that all gave some and some gave all.

John Pattullo
John Pattullo
4 months ago

these certainly have their use but unless we are specifically facing an enemy that uses large fast boat swarms – then would rather see 10 marlets and 2 heavier anti ship missiles on the wildcats – rn really lacks the heavy firepower needed to sink enemy ships

Tom
Tom
4 months ago
Reply to  John Pattullo

For wildcat at least, I think that is the balance that will be reached once Sea Venom is brought into service is ok. A Wildcat with two Sea Venoms and two sets of 5 Martlets seems like decent fire power for the size of helicopter.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago
Reply to  John Pattullo

We have Astute class nuclear submarines, that are the best in the world at sinking ships. Not that we will be doing any of that soon. Major political fall out needs to happen before anyone threatens somebody else’s warships. Cyber threats to our industrial base and utilities represent a far greater threat then any crappy Chinese or Russia Frigate.

Steve R
Steve R
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

We have 3 Astutes, out of a total of 7. Even when all 7 are in service, chances are only one, maybe 2, will be accompanying a QE carrier group.

Putting all our anti-ship eggs into that one basket seems foolish to me. We should be purchasing either NSM or Harpoon block II and arming our frigates and destroyers with them, and integrate them onto Typhoon and F35.

GWM
GWM
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

A pair of F35 carrying 16 spears is going to make a mess of any medium sized surface combatant,no need for obsolete Harpoons.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  GWM

If we’re firing 16 Spear at a target, for the same price we could be firing 2+ JSM. With a far longer range and terminal impact.

Spear are great but we’re asking too much of it for larger vessels.

GWM
GWM
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

We don’t have JSM and we won’t have money to buy them and they need to be carried on the wings of a F35B compromising stealth.JSM doesn’t have such a big warhead either and the combined weight and distributed damage of a number of spears is going to wreak havoc.Priority should be getting a modern heavy weight weapon on the surface ship force but even this is yet to be funded there is plenty of capability planned and funded for air launch.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  GWM

We don’t have Spear either…. And as Blk.IV has been delayed we won’t have it onboard ship until 2028. JSM will arrive at the same time as Spear as part of the Block IV upgrades. JSM’s hanging off a wing is not a problem. It’s got a 300 mile range from Hi-HI-Lo profile, weapons release would be far beyond an enemy’s detection or engagement range. It’s warhead is 6-7 times the size of Spear and that matters… I wouldn’t do without Spear, but a limited buy of 50-100 JSM would cover heavyweight AShM for F-35B and (perhaps) P-8. But also… Read more »

GWM
GWM
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

Don’t think 2028 is correct but the point is we have a budget line for it and it will be deployed and be multi role.People are always going on about this missile and that but we are cash poor and will be lucky to keep what we have planned post BOJO’s shambolick response to covid,better to talk about the priorities we need to keep amongst to inevitable cuts to come.

Jack
Jack
4 months ago

The Martlet has a pretty wide target set aside from fast patrol boats. The Royal Marines have tested a man portable launcher for use against fixed land based targets, vehicles up to medium armour and aerial targets. A very capable addition to the inventory.

Sceptical Richard
Sceptical Richard
4 months ago

This is excellent news! Looking forward to Sea Venom next to take over from Sea Skua. All we need now is for Wildcat to finally get the datalink it so sorely lacks!

Cam
Cam
4 months ago

Aren’t they still using dam memory cards or usb storage devices to get footage back to ship! Embarrassing for such an expensive platform.

Andy
Andy
4 months ago

Are u kidding? A high tech platform we are trying to sell as alternative to USA and Chinese kit and it has no datalink for Reece and identifying targets. Can’t be right?

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
4 months ago
Reply to  Andy

20.06.2019 Lord Carlile of Berriew Crossbench To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to improve the performance, endurance and range of Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters by the introduction of (1) tactical data links, and (2) in-flight refuelling equipment. Hansard source (Citation: HL Deb, 20 June 2019, cW) Earl HoweEarl Howe The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords The requirement for a Wildcat tactical data link, as well as options for extending fuel ranges, remain under review by the Royal Navy. I cannot comment further on matters relating to the future capability… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

“I cannot comment further on matters relating to the future capability of our assets as it is likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.”

Bog standard comment from HMG to hide behind.

Piffle!

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
4 months ago

No surprises in the reply then!

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  Andy

Datalink is installed on the South Korean Wildcat. It was omitted from RN Wildcat to save a few pence, it’s known that the RN are keen to revisit it.

Rokuth
Rokuth
4 months ago

The names “Marlet” and “Wildcat” have a lot of Historic significance for the FAA. During WW2, the Fleet Air Arm operated Grumman F4F fighters and were given the name “Marlet.” Later in the War, the name was dropped in favour of “Wildcat” as the aircraft were named in USN service.

Fast forward to the present day where Wildcats are firing Marlets…

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
4 months ago

It will be a while before its fitted to active ships. The main mag will need to be altered to accommodate the munitions. As you cannot do any hot work ( Drilling, welding, grinding) in a magazine full of BANG! the ship will need to Deammo the mag before work starts. Once started it should be containable in a 4 week maintenance period. The stowages for Sea Skua in a T23 mag are still there so they will, I guess, be used again for Sea Venom. Martlet will need dedicated stowage’s to be put in. There are redundant racks in… Read more »

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Did Sea Skua use the same system as the torpedoes to exit the magazine and be lifted to the hangar?

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

In a T23 there is a mechanical handler that removed Skua and Sting Ray from their stowage racks. The weapon could then be manouvered around in the mag to place the weapon on the deck(skua) on the loading tray for MTLS (Sting Ray) or onto a Torpedo Trolley to get rolled into the hanger to get prepped for fitting to the aircraft.

Mech handling means you need less people to move weapons around which on a lean manned T23 was a requirement.

Paul T
Paul T
4 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Gunbuster – On the QE Carriers much enthusiasm was expended on its New Automated Weapons Handling System – would future Systems such as Martlet and Sea Venom been incorporated into its design ?.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

The Highly Mechanised Weapons Handling System (HMWHS) on the QE Class moves munitions via pallets. It doesn’t really care what is on the pallet as long as it fits and doesn’t go over weight. It’s designed to take munitions up to and beyond Storm Shadow size, and can shift 18 x 500lber’s on a pallet so Martlet and Sea Venom wouldn’t trouble it in the slightest.

Here’s a video of it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F8HFrB8b-0

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

Saved me explaining it!

Steve H
Steve H
4 months ago

Why the stupid name? The “Martlet”!!!
The free fall version that they’ve pitched to the USN is called the “The Fury”….. Now that, is a proper aggressive name and it sounds cool, calling the RN version the Martlet sounds a bit poncy.
We should be calling it something like
The ” I’m going to come down there and punch your face in”, Now that, is a good name!!

HF
HF
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve H

The name was used before for Wildcat fighters in ww2, though they eventually called them by the US name.

Steve R
Steve R
4 months ago
Reply to  HF

Is that because even back then they realised the name sucks?

HF
HF
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

Could be ! Mind you, I get this name confused with Martel anti-radar missile, which might be another reason to change the name.

WeeWill
WeeWill
4 months ago

As an aside, and because of my fetish for commonality, does anyone know if Sea Venom and Spear 3 have any commonality. To my untrained eye, and launch platform aside, they’re in roughly the same class of weapon?

DaveyB
DaveyB
4 months ago
Reply to  WeeWill

Both Spear 3 and Sea Venom are made by MBDA. That’s pretty much where the physical commonality finishes. Spear 3 is actually smaller than Sea Venom especially in diameter (about half the size), but has at least triple the published range. This is because it uses a small turbojet for propulsion, whilst the Sea Venom is rocket powered. The Spear 3 is a development of Brimestone and uses the same internal components for the GPS/INS and warhead design. Both missiles use passive imaging infra-red sensors and can also be upgraded to use laser designation from 3rd party targeting. The Sea… Read more »

WeeWill
WeeWill
4 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Thanks DaveyB. I didn’t realise there was that great a disparity; their marketing material suggests Sea Venom only about 10% larger (except in length) / heavier. But I take your point on attack modes. Im assuming Sea Venom is lacking GPS / INS because of its shorter range. And use of a rocket motor for propulsion as that was deemed all that was necessary for the range (and cheaper than turbofan?). There’s probably utility in Sea Venom being integrated across other air platforms, and a surface launched version. Just as there’s probably utility in a surface launched (ground or naval)… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62
4 months ago

So why aren’t any of our shipborne Merlins fitted for these or any other ASMs when other countries do fit theirs with them?

As for the 30mm chain guns, I think it was a mistake to use a light gun without any AAA ability. Should’ve chosen something that does both AAA & anti-small boat.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

I don’t recall the previous Sea Kings having an ASM capability either. Our lighter ships flights Wasps and Lynx provided ASM, our heavier helicopters take the ASW role.

Happy to be corrected on that mind.