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RN Wildcats field new anti-surface guided weapons for CSG21

The UK Royal Navy (RN) is fielding the new Thales Martlet and MBDA Sea Venom anti-surface missiles as part of the CSG21 carrier strike group deployment prior to declaring initial operating capability (IOC) with the two weapons.

Led by the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth , CSG21 is a 26-week deployment to the Indo-Pacific region. The group sailed from the United Kingdom from22 to 23 May.

Four Wildcat HMA2 flights from 815 Naval Air Squadron are deploying as part of CSG21. Embarked on the Type 45 destroyers HMS Defender (219 Flight) and HMS Diamond (201 Flight), and the Type 23 frigates HMS Kent (206 Flight) and HMS Richmond (202 Flight), the Wildcat is primarily roled for offensive and defensive anti-surface warfare.

Martlet and Sea Venom are being introduced to service to address the respective Future Anti-Surface Weapon (Light) – FASGW(L) – and Future Anti-Surface Weapon (Heavy) – FASGW(H) – requirements. The former, based on the Thales Lightweight Multirole Missile, is a lightweight, laser-beam riding precision-guided weapon that is capable of delivering a proportional and precise effect against fast inshore attack craft or similar, while the latter is a medium-weight missile, using imaging infrared guidance, designed to prosecute larger surface targets up to corvette/light frigate size.

While IOC remains pending for both weapons, the UK Ministry of Defence has confirmed to Janes that β€œMartlet and Sea Venom are carried within the CSG21 inventory where they are capable of being used operationally.” It is understood that each system has been subject of a limited release to service for CSG21.

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