The UK Royal Navy (RN) in early July conducted pilot surface-to-surface trials of the Thales UK Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) – designated ‘Martlet’ in RN service – from a frigate at an off-shore firing range in the Irish Sea.
The trials, in which a five-round LMM pannier was co-mounted with the MSI-Defence Systems 30 mm DS30M Mark 2 gun on board the Type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland , comprised the launch of four Martlet rounds – one test round and three telemetry rounds – at a fast moving FIAC-representative speedboat off the MOD Aberporth Range on the west coast of Wales.
“The current defence against fast inshore attack craft, the 30 mm gun, is highly effective for closer range engagements,” said Lieutenant Commander George Blakeman, HMS Sutherland ’s weapon engineer officer. “By adding the missile to the gun mount, it is anticipated it will extend the reach of the ship’s defensive systems – key to a successful defence against fast craft using swarm attack tactics.”
“The trial, for which we were contracted, was designed to prove to the Royal Navy that a shipborne LMM/Martlet system could track, acquire, and engage a FIAC-type target at sea; we have successfully done this,” a Thales UK spokesperson told Jane’s .
The July at-sea trials follow LMM naval surface-to-surface test firings conducted earlier this year from the Aberporth Range. In this test firing, six LMM telemetry rounds were fired from a land-based Thales/Aselsan Missile Integrated Launcher System (MILAS) mounted on a 6-degrees-of-freedom motion table – with the table simulating Sea State 2 – at a five-metre FIAC representative target towed at a speed of 20 kts at a range of 5.5 km at sea off Aberporth. All six telemetry shots were successful. A seventh combat standard (warhead-equipped) LMM shot achieved a direct hit on the target.
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