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RN Wildcat completes first Martlet in-service firing

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.

Martlet has been fielded with CSG21 ahead of formal declaration of initial operating capability, although trials of the system against representative targets were completed by 815 NAS ahead of the deployment.

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