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Armchair Admiral

As the wobbly (wbied) was being shot at my an Mi-8 helicopter do we suppose this was a fleet protection flight, and how different might this have been if the copter was a Wildcat armed with Martlet.
Although the navy appears to have trialled Martlet from a ship and decided that, for whatever reason, it was not worth it, it looks to me like it might well be worth it, even just to counter this sort of threat.
Perhaps the T31s with shrapnel shelled 40mm and 57mm guns may be an adequate counter for these difficult targets, but the 30mm currently fitted less so.
Not sure about Phalanx.


Martley (bizarrely for an anti-swarm missile) isn’t fire and forget and needs guidance from the launching platform. Consequently it might struggle to effectively deal with a multiple USV attack




I’ve found that odd too- I guess it’s the price factor, but potentially when it started development too. I was surprised to find out that most Hellfire types are also SAL rather than fire and forget too, although I often think about them being the latter.
It’s all about range, I suppose. In this scenario, in the middle of a large port, I reckon it’d need to be a large swarm to overwhelm the capabilities of a Wildcat with 20 Martlet. But somewhere really tight, with a lot of civilian traffic (Straits of Hormuz, or closer in around a port’s docks), then it’d be a much bigger problem. But then, with rules of engagement, SAL is likely the only guidance method allowed if there’s a chance of collateral damage…

Supportive Bloke

Laser is for cheap(er) and harder to jam for low/mid level weapons.

If you stick a decent active radar in the front of a missile you double the price and maintenance /sustainment.


I’d agree that the 57 mm and 40 mm guns would be the better bet- although up close the crew-served 7.62 mm miniguns would likely chew one of those up pretty well too.
I think that the Wildcat/Martlet combination would have the advantage because of the relative ease of lasing a moving target compared to a pintle-mounted recoiling door gun. I imagine the WBIEDs would be moving 20+ knots, but using Martlet allows you to be further stood off- making keeping up with the movement easier. The MI-8 had to be close, low, and moving in relation to the target, making everything more comlicated.
I saw a comment or article on here (I think) that said the reason that they decided against the Martlet/DS30 combination was because of the damage caused to the mount during the firing of the missile. That’s a fair enough reason, but I don’t see why a standalone cannister rail can’t be procured to bolt onto the deck that can safely launch Martlet- at its most basic with a terminal operated from the bridge wing to guide it onto target. It’d be very Heath Robinson, but it’d work for the Straits of Hormuz, or the Black Sea (for example).


Hi Joe,
Really don’t think it’s that simple for the RN. Both Plymouth and Portsmouth are commercial ports with cargo/ferry activities as well as a large yacht brigade. Can’t see them being able to just start spraying HE rounds and missiles about as they like!! Think people might take a somewhat dim view of that!
It’s certainly not going to be a easy or cheap issue to fix, as the article states police patrol boats don’t normally carry anything bigger then a GPMG at best.


Haha, you’re quite right- can’t imagine the WAFIs being too fond of that idea…!
To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about it particularly in the contect of an RN home port.
It’s hard to tell from the drone boat footage, but it looks like fairly open water -more so than Portsmouth- not sure if that’s reality. Very different situation if so.
It’d be better to manage things further out, on the approaches in between the Isle of Wight for Portsmouth for example. But that is a bigger area, so cost goes up…


As the picture shows, there is absolutely nothing to stop a determined person driving a motorboat straight into the side of the carrier/T45. The patroling police launches are really a visual deterrent only.
Pompey has lots of tourist boats of various sizes which take people on tours of the WS daily during tourist season, they know how close they are able to get before incurring the wrath of said police launch. The place is v busy in the summer months with lots of vessels coming and going, would be an absolute mare to police properly.


Fair point. I guess that, should a war break out that we’re directly involved in, the freedoms enjoyed by Portsmouth’s boating community will be severely reigned in!
The real threat would be a first strike/terrorist type event I guess- during peacetime when we couldn’t enact more stringent safety measures. Alternatively, we move our naval bases away from the civilian population, but that sounds like a non-starter for any number of reasons…


Thales decided to change the launch format from the Starstreak when designing Martlet. From a dual rocket system to a single. This may be due to how he Starstreak’s due stage rocket system interacts aerodynamically when mounted to an aircraft.

On Starsteak you have the 1st rocket activate to get the missile out of the tube. It is a very short duration burn, that is expended by the time the missile leaves the end of the tube. It has very little back blast. When the missile is a few metres from the tube, the 2nd motor fires to accelerate the missile towards the target.

When Martlet fires, its single stage motor generates a plume 20ft long. This is fine, when the missile is attached under a wing on an aircraft. However, images and videos of the trials, show the plume hitting the ship’s structure. With sustained firing, this could cause quite a bit of damage.

I believe this was the reason why the combined DS30 mount and Martlet didn’t go any further.


That’s a very strange thing to do- even as a cost saving measure… I thought that Martlet was also replacing Starstreak in the shoulder-fired MANPADS role- I’d imagine that they’d also want the two-stage motor for that to avoid injuries to the man firing it?


I thought Martlet was a derivative of Starstreak

The missile efflux has always been there from Seacat, Seaslug and Seadart trainable launchers


Its seems that the bolt on launcher added to the 30mm cannon was successful and was only removed because it was just part of trials


It warms my heart that Royal Navy recognized its serious mistake (with causalities) and believe in guns again.

A British Tom

Are the carriers fitted with their 30mm’s yet?


I understand that it was announced a few weeks back that these will no longer be fitted


Where did you hear that news from? Show us?


You’re right . They do have them, well the QE does
3 phalanx and 4 30 mm units

Last edited 1 year ago by Duker

Sorry but the 30’s are not fitted on the CIWS as you can see the mounting points are empty.

Gary B

think so.


This generation travelled on the surface. It is no big stretch to imagine the next generation travelling just below the surface, with maybe a sensor mast being the only part above. Current plans do not include hull mounted sonars on many of our escorts. We are also not planning to fit ship launched torpedos.

That now seems like a very unwise set of choices to me


The hull mounted sonar lack seems indeed like it could cause some great issues with things like this. However, this isn’t something torpedoes would likely help with. Lightweight torpedoes are notorious for being awful at engaging small close to the surface things.

Really the guns the escorts already have are probably much better suited. A near miss with a 57mm or the 30/40mms with the right ammunition would be able to at least damage such things


The British, Italian, Japanese and German navies all employed various types of manned torpedoes, explosive motor boats and miniature submarines etc during WWII of course – for example the Kriegsmarine ‘Neger’ type was designed to operate in semi submerged manner with only the unfortunate pilot’s ‘dome’ visible above the water surface.

While the historical record shows that such craft could indeed operate successfully on occasion
the major problem with these operations was that they were extremely hazardous and therefore a horrendous casualty rate for their crews was almost guaranteed in return for any success achieved. Yes it is true that Naval Special Forces still to this day employ the modern descendants of these historical types – but mostly now for reconnaissance purposes I understand.

However, modern guidance and automation technology removes the problem of Human Beings being exposed to near suicidal risks when attacking enemy shipping in this form of warfare, So a revival in interest was therefore inevitable I suppose – this especially so in a situation as asymmetrical as the Ukrainian Navy v the Russian BSF today.


Good point. A similar concept is used by the drug cartels to evade US Coast Guard. And built in makeshift workshops in the jungle.

Bloke down the pub

For really close in defence where some weapons may have problems being brought to bear, a 40mm grenade launcher may have the ideal balance of rapid fire and stopping power.

Armchair Admiral

Martlet may be laser guided, but it’s very fast and there have been discussions on here before, regarding how many you can kill for the time/distances involved. In the Ukrainian example there appeared to more than enough time to target and kill 3 or 4 of the drones, considering the Mi8 made at least one or two turns to fire it’s machine gun. A Wildcat would not need to manoeuvre but simply point roughly in the right direction.
Hand held weapons may not be accurate enough against a high speed target, and not sure about the accuracy of a grenade launcher.
I wonder if a RWS (remote weapon station) might be a more accurate way to deliver small arms/50 cal fire? There’s loads about, they have no great footprint on a ship and would have night vision and laser ranging (if that’s any use against a choppy sea).


what about a long bow ?

John Hartley

If some sort of low cost, floating boom could be put around docked ships, that is probably the best solution for Portsmouth/Devonport. It would mean that a USV could get close, but hopefully not too close.


Unless is done from a ship already inside the port… remember the Olterra.


US Navy already does this . This is San Diego

Supportive Bloke

Very good point.

And not that crazy expensive either.

John Hartley

Yes, I hoped something like that existed.


The Trelleborg port security barriers (ala Faslane) mentioned in the article would also work for Portsmouth/Devonport.


The comparison should not be made with Italian attack in Alexandria which was submerged with “Maiale” mini submarines but with Italian attack in Suda Bay that damaged irreparably the heavy cruiser HMS York, those were made with MT/MTM barchini or the failed attack against Malta.

Strangely they seem more elaborated than the Ukranian boats which should have been able to sink a frigate without armour.
The MT barchini when hit the ship hull, have a mechanism to drop a 300kg depth charge set to explode at bottom hull level.

Search for Raid on Suda Bay and MT explosive motorboats.


July 1941, after the Souda Bay successful attack, 2 human torpedoes and 10 MTs were used on attack on Grand Harbour Malta. The group was detected on radar and of course shore batteries were available to fire on them . Limited damage was done including a small bridge to the harbour breakwater


They did not know about radar and took theMAS boats that were towing the MT’s too close, also the Malta harbour entrance is quite small which makes it easier to defend.


On the top is a satellite communications antenna that possibly utilises the Starlink network.”

This mis-understands how the Starlink system works, for small users its a ONE WAY satellite down link. For sending up to a satellite you need a larger base station which Starlink operates in your region and the existing ground data networks connect from your site to the uplink site
This is what uplink sites look like.
The USV clearly isnt using starlink but military grade 2 way satellite communications , maybe similar to the RN NavyX vessels use ??


The Starlink “Dishy” terminal is 2-way. How else do people in motorhomes use it when there is no cellular signal? Your photo is of a regional ground-station, also 2-way, that connects the satellite constellation to the terrestrial internet, which is mostly optic fibre.


Not so. Those in motorhomes would use the local cellular data network for the connection to an ‘uplink site’ You need something like 10% of your download data as uplink data

Its usually hidden in the blurbs and not noticed by those with not much computer knowledge
The satellites communicate with ground receiver stations, which are connected to high-bandwidth capable network connections to handle multiple user connections from Dishy transmitters. ….After the first time we parked in the boonies and didn’t have cell-based internet, that dream was crushed. From then on, we tended to stay in campgrounds. “
Typically of Musk the photos of real isolated places dont tell the truth, you will still need line of sight connection to a cell tower for ‘uploads’

Supportive Bloke

That is very similar to how the satellite Sky Broadband used to work.

Only the uplink was over ADSL so was absolute terrible….

That said I think there is a way to uplink to Starlink from a terminal – you would, however, need quite a bit more transmitter power.


I think you misunderstood some of the comments in that article, perhaps ref the limited availability of service in the US due to the orbits of the satellites in the constellation, or that the RV service is not prioritized (versus Home etc). Starlink is two way – initial home and RV offerings were 100mbs downlink, and 20mbs uplink. Starlink now offers maritime and aviation services too.


The upload isnt via the small dish for small users. Its just Starlink PR to say its 2 way much like the false hype about Tesla autonomous

As actual users have pointed out unless you have a cell site connection for your ‘remote location’ the upload connection doesnt work.
Orbits of satellites means nothing as there are already very large numbers

Commercial services would have there own much larger dish , like the photos of the Starlink upload sites.
Do better with your PR


To all the Starlink and internet communication experts;

Starlink provides two-way satellite-based internet service with a Starlink dish and then via wifi for connection with laptop, phone, etc.

Premium downlink 60 to 250mbs, uplink 10 to 30mbs

Last edited 1 year ago by SpaceX

Thats false claim. All ‘uplinks’ go via a Starlink ground station not via the flat dish provided. Connection from user to ground sation is via cell network or phone broadband line

This is a world ‘globe’ map of all the satellites, each is a white dot. click on a white dot which describes each satellite and shows its track across the sky ( they arent stationary)

Notice the US and other countries which have the service have hexagonal lines for coverage areas. Within each hexagon there is one or more red dots which are the local ground stations for uplinks to the satellite. No red dot in a hexagon no coverage

Click on one ( Redmond WA ) of the two ‘red dot’ ground stations near Seattle, it will tell you its location ( via a google view , its the roof of a commercial building) The details say the ground station a group of 8 satellite dishes , each five feet diameter and its upload bandwith is 1.25Ghz

Uk ground stations are at Goonhilly, Chalfont Grove and Isle of Man.


Again this is from a Starlink website for new customers

How does Starlink work?

Starlink satellites receives the internet signal from one of many ground stations located across the planet. These ground stations have local internet access via fiber and intercommunicate a signal between satellites to reach range within your cell. A cell is simply the area of internet coverage one individual satellite can provide. Starlink then uses the satellite to transmit a signal to your home by use of a specific satellite dish used to receive the signal. 

Julian Edmonds

How does Starlink work on Royal Caribbean? No ground receiver station in mid Atlantic.

Craig Lewell

Why could it not have been “our” drones gifted to Ukraine? If we cast our mind back two years a similar sort of drone washed up in Scotland believed to be of American origin, but why would the Americans be using drones near our shores ?



The Royal Marines seem to have been working on stealthy surface-subsurface USV “of the type” used in Crimea.
helps in deniability to say ” Royal Navy not involved” although strictly speaking RM is part of the navy.

Craig Lewell

Good find!


The US based builder of the RM Manta vessel, Martac has some interesting concepts in cluding ‘nesting’ a manta type vessel within a larger low observable ( maybe manned) vessel ( The devil ray) for deployment on longer missions


could imagine the russians having been burnt by this, exploring this area of warfare, cheap and deniable

Wm T Ford

Forgive the nit-picking, but can we agree that the target vessel’s (sur)name is Makarov, not Marakov?


Taranto Bay