RN Wildcat completes first Martlet in-service firing

by Richard Scott

A first Martlet in-service firing was completed in the Bay of Bengal on 16 October. (Royal Navy/Crown Copyright)

A UK Royal Navy (RN) Wildcat HMA2 helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) has completed the first in-service firing of the Thales Martlet laser-guided anti-surface guided weapon.

Undertaken in the Bay of Bengal, the firing was performed by the Wildcat of 219 Flight, embarked in the Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender as part of the RN's Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21) deployment.

Developed by Thales to meet the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (Light) requirement, Martlet uses the company's laser-beam riding Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) as its effector. Targeted by the Wildcat's observer using an active laser-generation unit inside the nose-mounted L-3Harris Wescam MX-15Di electro-optical/infrared/laser turret, Martlet is designed to deliver precise and proportionate effects against target sets such as fast inshore attack craft, jet skis, and waterborne improvised explosive devices.

The first operational live firing was performed on 16 October, with the missile targeted against an inflatable ‘Killer Tomato' target. Cockpit video footage released by the RN showed a single LMM impacting the target.

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IAV 2022: FN and Thales demonstrate RWS rocket capability

by Andrew Galer

FN Herstal has been working with Thales Belgium to demonstrate a guided rocket capability that could be added to the FN deFNder Remote Weapon Station (RWS) system.

Speaking at the International Armoured Vehicles (IAV) conference being held in London from 24 to 27 January, an FN spokesperson noted that proof of concept tests were initially conducted with Thales France in 2020 using a 68 mm unguided rocket, before they joined with Thales Belgium to use a 70 mm guided rocket in test firings in March 2021. This was understood to have used the Thales FZ275 and incorporated a semi-active laser seeker; the tests were reported to have achieved an accuracy of 1 m at a range of up to 7 km.

The rockets are launched from pods of two but, depending on customer requirements, could have a second pod added and are intended to complement the existing 12.7 mm machine gun and modular deFNder RWS. This will add precision and range from 2 km up to 7 km and therefore well beyond the machine gun's effective range.

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IAV 2022 – Metravib eyes new PEARL shot detector with smaller form factor

by Amael Kotlarski

Metravib PEARL. (Giles Ebbutt)

Metravib Defence aims to develop a new version of its Personal Equipment Add-on for Reactive Localization (PEARL) weapon-mounted acoustic shot detector, Janes has learned.

Speaking at the International Armoured Vehicles 2022 conference in London, a company representative told Janes that the next evolution of the PEARL technology would be a smaller and more compact array, able to be directly integrated to the back of the soldier's helmet, or other wearable pieces of equipment.

Although smaller and lighter, this solution would likely come with the trade-off of less precision in the detection of the elevation of the incoming shot.

PEARL is essentially a scaled-down version of Metravib Defence's flagship system, the PILAR V, and was revealed in 2012. PEARL consists of an array of four microphones housed in a single unit. The unit itself weighs around 400 grams and is designed to be mounted to the host weapon via a MIL-STD-1913 ‘Picatinny' rail interface.

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South Korea develops Hycore hypersonic cruise missile

by Jon Grevatt & Rahul Udoshi

South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has disclosed to Janes some details about its plans to develop a hypersonic cruise missile (HCM).

The capability is being sought in light of increasing launches of claimed hypersonic weapons by North Korea. Since September 2021 Pyongyang has said it has launched three such weapons, with two in January 2022.

DAPA told Janes that its Agency for Defense Development (ADD) is undertaking research into hypersonic technologies with the aim to develop a weapon that would bolster South Korean national security. Janes understands that the name of the new HCM is Hycore.

“The Agency for Defense Development is currently researching core technologies to study the high temperature characteristics that occur during hypersonic flight and the aerodynamic characteristics of the vehicle at high speed,” a DAPA spokesperson said,

DAPA did not disclose any additional information. However, Janes understands that DAPA aims to test the ground-launched missile in 2022. Research on the project has reportedly been under way since 2018.

Janes also understands that ADD's industry partner is Hanwha Corporation. Hanwha has not released any information about the project.

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A UK Royal Navy (RN) Wildcat HMA2 helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) has completed the fir...

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