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Makes a huge amount of sense, shared munitions between the Wildcat and it’s host ship. Just so long as nobody things this a substitute for a Harpoon replacememt.


Indeed…its a welcome improvement and I hope the entire fleet gets them. Things I would like to know are reload times and how many are going to be stored on each class ?


I hope this is also combined with an additional purchases of more missiles.

1000 does not go far, if you spread them across the escorts plus wildcats, plus ideally also on the rivers.

Hopefully we learnt our lesson with the tomahawk buy (and running out fast), although consider we replaced them 1 for 1, it seems no lessons were learnt.


Definitely. Just equipping the escorts would take 190 missiles, plus more for their embarked helos. For a weapon that should have a very long and potentially active service life (light weapons tend to see a lot more use than big ones like AShMs and such), you really want a big stockpile


Huge bloody stockpile….enough to fight for years with ?


Should be standard fit across the fleet just like Phalanx should be. The carriers have these guns too, so fingers crossed they get these just in case anything slips past an escort.

Harry Bulpit

This seemed to have come out of the blue. I wonder if it will be classed as a UOR?


How about, they can now start to upgrade the River OPV’s.


I think the River 2’s mount this gun, so only question would be space for munitions and ease of reloading from the magazine.
I think River 1’s would need the gun changing first…


River 1s have the 20mm main gun GAM but the mount is the important bit…not sure if the mount is compatable. For the River 2s this is a hugely welcome addition, on the River OPV article I was talking about how it needed an armament buff…this covers at least the surface threats nicely ? slap a Phalanx on there and its all good to go from my perspective


In reality that Batch 1’s would never need the addition of missiles to their armament seeing as they lack the 30mm and will also spend the rest of their lives in the UK’s sovereign waters on fishery protection. I’m certainly no expert but I don’t think they’ll be encountering any IRGCN vessels over here. However the Batch 2’s could definitely benefit from this as they are likely to be more frequently deployed overseas.


Any capability to employ hvm as well or is fire control not good enough – just thinking possibly getting a cheap air defence option on smaller vessels


One would hope that whichever Type 31 design is selected would also get something like this, if those vessels are ever to be used to patrol areas like the Persian Gulf. Perhaps the mission bay space could be used to deploy a mount like the one shown here, which could be removable when the ship is redeployed elsewhere?


Along with Martlet, I am hoping that Sea Venom can also be fitted, either by canister launchers or using the VL launchers. To my mind having the same weapons fitted to the ship as well as the Wildcat gives the ship many more options. Especially when the Wildcat is either U/S or the weather too severe to launch. Also, by using the same weapons type helps with logistics, training etc.
The thought of having a lightweight, medium weight and perhaps a heavy weight multi-purpose surface to surface missiles, will finally give our ships some serious punch, with the ability to pick and choose what weapons system to use.


Sea Venom will never be VL’d. And given how unsuccessful Sea Skua sales were for the canister version (believe only Kuwait bought it in the early 90’s, and that was when they were buying anything they could from the US and UK to say thank you) I suspect MBDA won’t be in a hurry to spend any money unless someone pays for it. And that won’t be us….


I wonder why the 2014 version has 7 extra missiles than the current version, a strange decision considering they are designed for swam attacks where multiple target kills is the aim.


2 extra missiles ? probably a weight consideration or possibly the ends of the missile tubes might hit the deck when the gun is at high elevation for shooting helicopters etc

Anthony Gilroy

As Sam has said Weight is a real posibility. Including things like accuracy of mount, traverse speed of mount, etcetc.

Seeing these role out quick would be nice. Working out additional locations to bolt them on would also be good. Especially for things like the Batch 2 OPVs. A “East of Suez” fit for the Batch 2’s of 3 x 30mm/5 Martlets would make them a menace to FIACs. Especially with the ability to refuel/Deck a Wildcat that has come another unit.

Glass Half Full

Perhaps they want to end up with a common pannier mount for both Wildcat and the 30mm? Currently, based on the Mount 3 and Wildcat pictures in the article, the panniers are similar but not identical.

As something that is likely to be optionally fitted to both Wildcat and 30mm, similar to how Phalanx is optionally fitted based on deployment, it would seem to be desirable, and from an engineering and logistics perspective, more elegant.


The 7 round version was in the original CGI for mounting on Wildcat when FASGW(L) was originally launched. But after a while was superceded in the CGI images by a 5 round version when more design work had been done. Wildcat also changed its weapons mounting wing design at that point. So its fair to suggest the change in Wildcat wing led to a switch to 5 rounds, which for convenience has then led to the DS30M getting the same 5 round unit.


Great news and i hope it’s rolled out across all ships with the 30mm as soon as possible. If there is a shortage of actual missiles and/or funds i’d at least like to see all of the systems adapted with the launchers – with OPV’s and RFA’s only carrying a stock of munitions when deploying to high-threat environments.

I’ve long suggested this as a relatively cheap but effective way of giving vessels a bigger defensive punch which the Royal Navy sorely needs.

Strange and dismaying that the example tested only holds 5 missiles when the original design features 7. Given it’s primary purpose as an anti-swarm weapon every extra shot counts.


The 30mm canon can be fired both remotely and manually. Do you think the same will be for LMM?


Well they kept that quiet!
5 missiles is all you can get on mount due to the new electronic boxes fitted on the side of the mount below the new launcher. They would foul the missiles at high elevation.
Very close to the mount is the ships 30mm magazine so somewhere to stow reloads willo be readily available.
Eflux may be an issue on launch but some strategically placed kevlar barriers will solve that. With the mount pointing aft you could end up damaging the seaboat.

The bushmaster equipped 30mm has no manual driver . Remote control only. MCMVs dont have bushmaster and are fitted with the KCM 30mm cannon and a driver only.


I know Sea Ceptor uses the cold launch method developed by MBDA, but is the vertical launch technology transferable to trainable launchers?


Some anti tank missiles are cold launch so that you dont kill yourself firing the thing inside a building! You could make a trainable launcher cold launch but in this case there is little need. Cold launch is best for vertical launch and to be honest adds a whole raft of complication to the missile (Turnover unit etc)
This missile is universal between MANPAD, helo and mount so keeping it simple in operation is better for everyone..


Gun buster, I was wondering about Martlet being laser targeted by a designator. Does that mean that only one missile can be fired at a time, or can the designator track and cue multiple targets?
I ask because if faced with a swarm of missile boats heading your way, you may not have time to wait between firings.


I think I can answer this. For a single engagement, the laser will illuminate the target and the missile will centre on the reflection. At some point the imaging infra red seeker will take over. The operator is fed back imagery data from the two way data-link, making sure it tracks the correct target and boom. For multiple engagements the missiles can also lock on after launch. So a salvo will be directed by the gun mount and controlled via the data link. The laser will illuminate each target in turn very quickly allowing the IIR seeker to build the target’s image and thus track them individually.
This may be wrong, but its similar to firing multiple ASRAAMS at targets without the seeker locked on to the target. The missile is initially controlled by mission system via a datalink. Once the missile is in view of the target the seeker feeds back the info to the pilot, who then confirms the target and then the missile takes over.


LMM looks like not having any IR seeker?

LMM of Mach 1.5 is to engage targets of Mach 0.1 (50 knots) or even 0.05 (25 knots), if the enemies are fast boats. It is not the salvo capability which matters, but the number of rounds on the launcher (5) and how fast we can reload it.


The IIR seeker is a proposal from Thales. It’s not on the current batch of missiles. These are laser guided only. As far as I am aware the IIR seeker has not been ordered or funded.


Thanks for clarity.


The other interesting thing to note about the canisters (apart from the end caps no longer being jettisoned) is that the missile tube is now continuous diameter, rather than the wide diameter section at the front and thin tube at the rear that we have been used to since Blowpipe.

In the past the missiles rear fins were at the front of the tube arranged around a ‘collar’. When fired the missile went through the fins before they were ‘caught’ by the slightly wider end of the rear of the missile as it passed through them (and some sticky tape believe it or not). If you look at the Thales video in slow motion you can see that the fins have been changed to folding fins. This will have necessitated the change to a tube that is the same diameter throughout its length.

It also means that all of the CGI to date of Wildcat carrying LMM is wrong as they show the old style tube.

Although originally this was done to keep the CoG forward. Folding fins make a lot more sense. Plus it appears the carrying system may be able to be more stable than just having mounting points at the front. The other obvious point is that Starstreak is also contained in a similar tube. I suspect LMM is reusing the tube. This will also mean that Starstreak is compatible with the mounts.


Does any one know if these could also be mounted on a 20mm/85 mount. If yes it could be an interesting capability upgrade to the P2000 class. The second question is; The LMM is a development of Starstreak, so does this missile still have its Anti Air capability?


LMM does have AAW capability.


P.7, “Naval CONOPS”, the last item; “Point Defence against Air Threats – Helicopter, Light Aircraft and UAV Targets”


LMM is not a development of Starstreak. It uses the same guidance system and control unit.

It is in fact a development of the missile that Starstreak replaced in the AA role, Starburst. Starburst in turn was a development of Javelin (a MANPAD, not the later US ATGM). Javelin was in turn a development of the original Blowpipe from Shorts Brothers. Apart from the warheads, rocket motors etc the timeline and differences are below from the start:

Blowpipe – Missile controlled by joystick, very difficult to do without huge amount of training. Not very successful in Falklands. Radio command guidance. Developed by Shorts Brothers in Belfast.

Javelin – Development of Blowpipe, missile is now SACLOS as a result of Falklands experience. Operator now has to track the target with the sight unit, the control unit sends adjustments to the missile by radio command.

Starburst – Development of Javelin (also called Javelin S15). Replaced the jammable radio command guidance with laser targeting. Had laser proximity fuse.

Starstreak – Replaced Starburst. Also called High Velocity Missile (HVM). Retained laser targeting, but otherwise wholly new concept. Missile bus is launched then 3 laser guided tungsten darts separate and home in on target. Mach 4.0 plus with astonishing acceleration. Each dart will penetrate any armour carried by an aircraft (or a light armoured vehicle) and then explodes with an explosive charge the same size as a 40mm Bofors shell. The high speed and acceleration was specifically chosen to give targets no opportunity to evade or to deal with ‘pop-up’ targets like attack helicopters threatening armoured formations.

LMM/Martlet – Thales (who took over the guided weapon division of Bombardier, who took over Shorts Brothers) raid the parts bin….Starburst missile with imaging IR seeker for terminal phase, new rocket motor for extended range and multipurpose warhead.

LMM/Martlet does not replace Starstreak as the principal AA weapon. But will be more useful against targets that require a proximity warhead to destroy like small UAV’s. Very much complimentary with Starstreak.

Basically the design of UK MANPADS stems from the early days of MANPADS. The US developed Redeye, the Russian’s copied it with SA-7. But both were comparatively short ranged, had to be launched in a very small window to achieve intercept against anything vaguely fast. The seekers on both were also of their time, and could only home in on a jet exhaust from the rear…..i.e. after the jet had flown past…..i.e. after it had potentially dropped its ordnance. At the time an all-aspect seeker was beyond the state of the art, particularly in such as small package. The UK instead, and the Swedes with RBS-70 looked to use systems that could engage a target from any aspect. At the time that required a man in the loop. This is also meant that countermeasures like flares would not work against them. Flares and other IR based countermeasures were very effective against first, second and third generation IR seekers. The UK has in fact a small number of Stingers, for SF use, they were in fact the first country to use them in combat and achieve a kill. But despite this has largely kept the faith with MANPADS with offboard guidance and highly trained operators. Starstreak in particular would be an absolute horror for any attacking aircraft, no countermeasures including DIRCM would be effective against it.


Dear Rudeboy-san

Thanks for detailed history.

> LMM/Martlet – Thales (who took over the guided weapon division of Bombardier, who took over Shorts Brothers) raid the parts bin….Starburst missile with imaging IR seeker for terminal phase, ..

Does LMM have IR seeker? I see no such information in its brochure.


The Martlet can come with two type of sensors either a combined semi-active laser and IIR sensor fitted to the nose or just its basic laser receiver mounted in the tail. The bones of the system uses semi-active control line of sight (SACLOS) the same as Starstreak. This uses the guidance unit to maintain a lock on the target whereby the delta between the missile and target is measured and corrections sent to the missile. The second option is the LMM Next Generation which gives a degree of autonomy to missile after its been fired. This consists of the same missile body but with the combined semi-active laser and IIR seeker. This allows the missile to track a separate designator, but also gives it a degree of fire and forget. I am not sure if the Navy are buying the NG version but its available.


It’s worth noting that an unpowered version of Martlet has been used as a basis of a gravity/glide weapon for use by small UAV’s (it was seen mounted under the wing of Watchkeeper for the Polish requirement) called Fury. Marketed by Textron in the US. This also has GPS/INS guidance in addition to SAL (different laser targeting method that Martlet)


Great achievement. It looks like not in final configurations, and I strongly push to invest more here to make it really happen. LMM capability must be broadly installed in all escorts, CVFs, Albions, and all River B2s.

LMM does not need to be mounted every time, but capability to significantly up-grade close-in defense firepower in short notice (~less than an hour?) is of great effect.


1: can the system be installed with StarStreak HVM with (almost) no updates?

If yes, it will be great. In AAW warfare, StarStreak will be useful for high-speed (and thus inevitably large) drones to come in future, while LMM will be best used against many cheap-small-and-slow drones (in addition to sea boats).

2: how fast can the system be re-loaded?

In swarm attack from fast boats, Mach 1.5 (=500 m/s) LMM is engaging Mach 0.1 (=50 knots) targets. Engaging 50 knots boat at 4 km distance needs only 8 seconds (or 1 km, only 2 seconds), while the 50 knots boat can proceed only 210 m (or 50 m). No problem here. But, reloading may be an issue, in swarm attack. If it takes one minute, a 50 knot boat will proceed 1600 m.


Starstreak….oh yeah ? slap those puppies on a River batch 2 with the Martlets on the 30mm mount and you have got one nasty little OPV ????


1. Yes. Martlet uses the same control system as Starstreak.

2. It’s a clip in all up round, so you’re talking seconds to slide in each round.

But don’t forget that if the missiles were exhausted, there is still other defences…on a T45 they’d have to get past a Wildcat with Martlet and .50 cal first, then 4.5 inch gun firing proximity shells, them Martlet, then 30mm cannon from the DS30M, then the Phalanx 1B firing 20mm cannon shells, then Miniguns and GPMG. If they make it that far…

On a T26 it would be a similar story, except that Sea Ceptor also has a surface mode…although Merlin will only have a .50 cal machine gun (hopefully that will get rectified in due course).


” There is very little debris, just the end cap that seals the missile tube.”

Actually it appears that that is one of the main differences with Starburst or Starstreak. The blow off nose cap has gone, replaced by a cap that splits into 4 pieces that each remain attached to the tube. I’d imagine that was a design change for the Wildcat carriage but has the benefit of making life easier aboard ships as well (particularly QE)


Missiles already on board,check.
Mount already on board,check.
An idea so obvious that the Turks thought of it a decade ago,check.Basically free.
Had we got on with this and not taken forever to develop the projectile, we could have sold these for export. A great example of all thats wrong with UK defence procurement.So I am in agreement with the article, before all you patriots start voting me down.


Would it be possible for these to be be mounted on the Archer class or River OPV’s to give them some punch?


Wonder where the missiles are made, looks good I hope all of our DS30 guns get them including the rivers.


Belfast at the old Shorts Brothers works.

Yes and No. As someone pointed out not all DS30’s are the same. DS30M is the mount in the images. It’s remote fired only. Thats standard on T23, QE etc. But older variants of DS30 exist that have a gunners seat where the LMM is mounted (DS30B). River Batch 1’s have manual mounts as do T45’s. It will be interesting to see if the RN brings them all up to DS30M standard.


I’m the guy who would have mounted the 76mm/62 on the Rivers from the start. Add two DS30M Mark II cannon mounts to the Rivers, and you have a decent amount of firepower for emergencies.

Yes, I know that’s not the “role” of the OPVs, but firepower is never a bad thing. Additionally, “equipped for but not mounted” is a losing proposition when the world goes to…manure.