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Gary

As a test? or to actually shoot at a “bad guy”?

dick van dyke

I think it might just have been a test……..

Gavin Gordon
Trevor G

It’s a bit scary that in 2021 core capabilities on brand new kit like radar and data links were omitted as a cost saving measure. Makes me wonder how much more of this practice is going on.

Ron5

Prepare to be really, really, scared.

Armchair Admiral

It is very scary, however at least some of these issues are going to be addressed.
The ability to swap Brimstone and Martlet between either type would also be nice? Or perhaps not practical from a training and weapons storage standpoint?
AA

Armchair Admiral

Whoops…was obviously thinking about my wish list…Brimstone on a Wildcat!!

Ron5

Great idea but the Army buying an American missile for use on Apache is not the greatest of signs. Silly buggers.

Dogs Nads

Perfectly practical, but dangerous to do….at least until Apache E was ordered in full. Otherwise the Treasury might get the idea that it wasn’t needed, that Wildcat was all that was required. It would make a lot of sense to the RM in particular if Wildcat got Brimstone…

The failure to integrate Brimstone to Apache is utterly daft though…

dick van dyke

The Scary thing is the apparent Ignorance as to the new Global threats from the East.

Ron5

And yet the first UK carrier group in decades, on its first operational deployment, went where exactly?

dick van dyke

It went to poke a stick in a Wasps nest Ron……. That nest is Huge and angry now, Go take a look at their Fleet mate,

Bob

The most dangerous enemy in the world? HM Treasury.

Gavin Gordon

Ah, but will Rishi Sunak still put our money where his erstwhile dissertation of note lay? One would trust so, since his maritime risk assessment, particularly with regard to the sub-surface environment, cannot have fundamentally changed even as Chancellor of the Exchequer:-
https://policyexchange.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Undersea-Cables.pdf

Ron5

Dam right

Supportive Bloke

At least we have the platform to add the link system and radar to.

If the budget had blown out much more then you might have been looking at nothing at all. And that would have been really, really, really scary.

Although I do think that the Black Sea documentary had an effect on with where everyone in government saw it and went WFT get this fixed it is embarrassing.

Sonik

Yes compare with e.g. the army AFV situation and it’s not so bad at all.

AlexS

But the cost of vulnerability at sea is much bigger than on land when you are a big island with no enemies around you nearby and those only at long distance.

Dogs Nads

Radar was omitted on Army Wildcat only, but it appears that it may return…work on a data link is going ahead. A Gap that appears, for once, to be being filled.

Cam

Would have been great if the 45s had two wildcats embarked to show that capability more … and marlet must up the missile carried count on the 45s, I wonder how many they carry 10? 20? 50?, Where are missiles and torpedos stored on the 45s? Magazine?

dick van dyke

All the Hard Core Missile Magazines are stored on the Top Shelf Mate.

X

🙂

Cam

Ahh, so they aren’t stored in the cupboard under the sink then.

X

A bit cramped don’t you think?

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Tr9ESTTyBXg/TmaFdVvNUQI/AAAAAAAAAfk/Jts-ZCF1Opk/s1600/Double+Lynx.jpg

They daren’t park one out on the flightdeck; it’s that large they mislay it. And the FAA hasn’t enough cabs as it is.

Ron5

The Wildcats have working clearances all around so no problem. The deployment of two on a Type 45 (shown in the photo) was declared to be a great success.

X

Everybody knew they would fit before they did it. They wouldn’t have done it else.

dick van dyke

Define “Great Success” mate….. Was it that they could fit ?

Supportive Bloke

I am a bit bemused as to what the use of Martlet actually is: in a naval capacity?

I mean if you want to stop asymmetric threats a relatively cheapo 30/40mm auto-cannon will do the trick.

Martlet is very light and won’t do an awful lot of damage to anything big naval and the big naval things the helo won’t get close to.

For commando support I get it. It is exactly the right thing to suppress a machine gun or ruin someones day in a soft(ish) skin vehicle or just make a lot of flashes and bangs to disorientate.

X

Yes. As you say guns all the way. All I can think it is being used to break up attacks of small craft at a distance from a group. The US have devised away of using cluster bombs to deal with these mass attacks. Basing Wildcat on the 2 T45 at the centre of the group to do that perhaps makes sense. But it is all a stretch.

Ron5

Range and accuracy. One shot, one kill.

dick van dyke

Well that’ll be a first….. 100% kill rate has never been achieved so far…..

Sonik

Even with bigger targets e.g. up to OPV/corvette size, IMO there is much strategic value, in being able to mission kill, or even just harass a target, with minimum damage/death and without having to sink it. Remember the Belgrano, and the sh1tstorm that created?

Also avoiding collateral damage in a complex environment, where non-combatants are mixed in. Martlet is relatively cheap, precise and fully controlled with man-in-the-loop. The threshold of engagement, is therefore potentially much lower vs more powerful weapons, so it’s useful in terms of intervention options, politically.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ben Robins
Cam

Maybe a cheap shoulder launched martlet in future? Surely far cheaper than javelins.

Jon

The guns are fired from the ship. Martlets, as discussed here, are fired from a helicopter. They don’t start from the same place so can hit different targets. If the target is 100 miles from the ship, a ship-mounted 40mm gun or even a 5″ gun is as much use as transparent curtains in a blackout. Martlet in attack is not Martlet in defence. There are helicopter-mounted 30mm guns, but nothing on a Wildcat I know of.

If you are bemused about Martlet fired from a ship’s 30mm gun mount, you aren’t the only one. The only real advantage I’m aware of is it has longer range and can take out a number of approaching group/swarm members before switching to the gun rounds. I suppose it may give unsophisticated enemies greater pause for thought. Possibly worth it for RFAs or smaller ships like the River class, maybe even Type 31.

AlexS

I mean if you want to stop asymmetric threats a relatively cheapo 30/40mm auto-cannon will do the trick.

Those don’t have 8km range to stop boat with an ATGM,
We are not anymore in the 80’s with fastboats with RPG’s and idiots on them.


Sonik

Guns of all types are also much less precise (vs Martlet) especially when using fragmenting amo, which is potentially a collateral damage problem in areas where non-combatants are present.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ben Robins
Cam

Yeh a nice big cannon on the wildcats would be just as effective nd wouldn’t leave the chopper vulnerable whilst layering targets.

Cam

The Wings and 20 martlet does look bad ass though. Or 10 and two se venom would ruin any warships day.

Jed

I am very happy to be corrected, but I dont think you can share imagery over Link 16 ?

Jon

Link 16 supports the exchange of text messages and image data. It also provides two channels of digital voice.

I’m not sure the pros and cons of going with Link 16 over the newer Link 22, but anything is better than nothing.

Magenta

To Jed and John.
See – https://www.ibm.com/downloads/cas/46P4ZBNK
Interesting article, I highlighted two aspects in Bold and Italics.

Data link messages are characterized by their standard message and transmission formats. These formats are designed to promote interoperability in a limited bandwidth environment. TDLs are limited to a specific area of operation and are used for the command and control of forces. Although various TDL standards exist, the two US and NATO data link systems in general use Link 11 and Link 16, as shown in Table 1, compared to the new Link 22.

Link 11
Link 11 provides a computer-to-computer exchange of digital tactical information among ships, aircraft and shore installations. Systems that use Link 11 data communications can operate with HF or UHF radios and can use satellite communication as an alternative to provide more range. Based on technology developed in the 1960s, Link 11 is a relatively
slow link that normally operates on a polling system with a net control station (NCS) that polls each participant for data. Link 11 can also be operated in broadcast modes that allow one participant to make a single data transmission or a series of single transmissions. Even though Link 11 is security rich, it is not resistant to electronic countermeasures (ECMs).

Link 16
Link 16 is an improved data link standard that is used to exchange near real-time information. As a communication, navigation and identification system, Link 16 supports the information exchange between tactical command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) systems. Link 16 is used in sea, airborne and ground-based units. In addition to enabling units to exchange their tactical picture, Link 16 supports the exchange of text messages and image data. It also provides two channels of digital voice.

 The radio transmission and reception component of Link 16 can be the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS) or its successors, the Multifunctional Information Distribution System -Low Volume Terminal (MIDS-LVT) and Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS JTRS).

These high-capacity, UHF, line-of-sight (LOS), frequency-hopping data communications terminals provide security-rich, jam-resistant voice and digital data exchange. JTIDS and MIDS terminals operate on the principle of time division multiple access (TDMA), where time slots are allocated among all Link16 network participants for the transmission and reception of data.

TDMA eliminates the requirement for a net control station (NCS) by providing a communications network architecture without nodes.

Operating in UHF frequencies, Link 16 is limited to the exchange of information between users within LOS of each other. However, new technologies are providing the means to pass Link 16 data over various protocols such as TCP/IP and UHF satellite communications (SATCOM). Link 16 was intended to replace or augment many existing TDLs as the joint standard for data link information exchange, but its use is limited by the cost of implementation and support.

Link 22: The combined experience
Link 22 is the newest NATO standard for tactical information exchange between military units. The development of Link 22 started in 1992 as the NATO Improved Link Eleven (NILE) project. The goals of this project were to replace the aging Link 11 standard, complement Link 16, improve allied interoperability and enhance mission performance.

The Link 22 standard was developed to overcome weak points of earlier data links. Such weak points include Link 11’s lack of robustness, susceptibility to interference, and low data rate. Link 16’s weaknesses include a short range and the use of civil aviation frequencies. The NATO member nations that participated in the development of Link 22 are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and the US. Today, the Link 22 standard is operational.

Link 22 transmits data in fixed-format messages that are compatible with Link 16 formats. Like Link 16, communication channels are shared by using TDMA protocols. The specification for Link 22 is the Standardized NATO Agreement (STANAG) 5522. The structure of the Link 22 network layer allows for the transmission of any kind and length of data with automated routing and relaying mechanisms. Link 22 also features automated bandwidth reallocation depending on user requirements and availabilities.

Last edited 1 month ago by Magenta
Ron5

Thanks for posting that.Thumbs up.

Supportive Bloke

Maybe to do with others having integrated Link16 into the platform prior? So there is little or no R&D risk.

Jon

“During the recent documentary about HMS Duncan operating in the Black Sea, we were treated to the spectacle of the aircrew having just landed on the ship rushing to the ops room to allow imagery shot from the helicopter to be downloaded from a laptop. With a mobile phone you can FaceTime grandma on another continent but a Wildcat helicopter cannot pass real-time imagery to its parent ship.” Navy Lookout, Feb 2019.

“…fit a Tactical Data Link (TDL) to Wildcat”. Hooray!

Sonik

Indeed, amazing how a very significant piece of good news like this gets drowned in all the cynicism!

Supportive Bloke

As I said above: we at least have the cabs to fit it to.

And this is a really good situation awareness multiplier.

Sonik

Totally agree

Harry

So it can only hit stationary or slow moving buildings,
de Havilland Mosquito can do it as well, lol.

Last edited 1 month ago by Harry
john clark

Excellent progress for the Naval variant, the current basic spec of the AAC variant makes it about as much use as a chocolate tea pot…

Get a radar on it, weaponise the AH1 and the Army will actually have a useful helicopter and not just a fancy and extremely expensive taxi for four men…

Ron5

Or, have the Army give their Wildcats to the Navy, and buy extra interim Puma replacements (like the AW149) for their use.

David Steeper

Yeah but the RN would have to pay to navalise them. No idea how much that would cost but it seems sometimes that there’s no such thing as a cheap fix when it comes to anything military.

James William Fennell

Martlet/LMM has a good capability against moving ground targets – would also be good for Army versions.

Cam

Would the chopper Not be a little vulnerable when painting targets?..

Ron5

They would be out of small arms range but not MANPADS.

William Pellas

I was thinking the same thing.

Bob

I might get excited about Martlet if it was fire and forget.

BB85

It’s really just a low cost option for taking out low value targets that can’t fire back instead of using brimstone every time.

Ron5

They don’t carry Brimstone.

X

Brimstone launched by something else.

Bob

Assuming there are not too many small boats and non of them have MANPADS

Sonik

I think the whole point is that it isn’t (fire and forget)

Joe16

Finally, a data link! That took long enough…
Glad to hear the missile works well and it’s being deployed across the fleet, that’s good.
Aside from the radar, does anyone happen to know what separates the AH1 from the HMA1? Aside from some folding blades or something? Honestly, Wildcat for the AAC is wasted- give them to the RN. I guess they’re arguing that the radar gives them more capability, but for what? The latest army plans talk about aggressive operations in non-permissive environments by combined arms teams, using UAVs to the point of destruction for ISTAR that can be actioned in real time. Using a manned yet barely armed, very expensive helicopter in the battlefield scout role is about as far away from that as you can get. Our new AH-64E can control loyal drones to do their forward scouting and target painting without needing another manned platform. Infantry travel in groups of 8, not 4. It feels like the army are trying to justify ownership of their Wildcat fleet by buying the radar, when their stated strategy papers don’t have space for the asset…

John Clark

The Army had Wildcat forced on it Joe, a political procurement unfortunately, excellent Naval helicopter, but it’s pared down Army fit, renders it next to useless….

A properly equipped Wildcat will be a useful asset in the scouting and light attack roll, but it’s always going to be limited in the fact that it can only carry 4 soldiers…..

Sonik

Good question about folding blades.

I’m thinking if AH1 can be landed/fitted on RN ships, it won’t really matter who it officially belongs to, when needs must? So the radar could be an asset there in future.

Jon

In 2018 Rear Admiral Pentreath (then head of Joint Helicopter Command) was quoted as saying that future operational priorities for the Wildcat AH1 were “introduction of a tactical datalink, increased endurance and a radar in that order”.

Given that the army’s Wildcat helicopters were selected by the politics of the Defence Industrial Strategy and are alternately run by the other services (JHC is currently headed by an air vice marshal) is it surprising that it still has kit 17 years later that doesn’t slot smoothly into an evolving army doctrine that demands the latest tech?

Ron5

The Army procurement geniuses deleted the Wildcat radar from their version to save money and because they didn’t think they needed it.

Deep32

I’m no expert on army issues mate, but don’t AT/sniper/recon/mortar teams go round in units of 4 or less? SF teams are 4 in number too, in a war would imagine them being flown around, as well as being utilised for casevac scenarios. It’s a niche area, but we are getting rid of the Gazelles too, sometimes something smaller then a Puma/AW149 size is required – possibly!

Dave G

There is very little difference between Army Helicopter (AH) and HMA versions as the airframe, engines, rotors and running gear are common. They may have to add the wiring looms for the radar (which they would have to buy more of) and weapons. They may also have to update the software version in the mission computer but that is about it… I believe the navy also only has one set of pilot controls fitted but that just needs a spanner…

GBNL

What’s the difference between Sea Venom and Spear 3 in terms of capability? Would Spear 3 have been a better fit? Or even Brimstone on the Wild Cats? Alternatively, could Sea Venom be an option for the F-35’s?

Jon

Both are around 100kg and high subsonic.

Sea Venom is a helicopter-launched missile with a quoted range of over 12 miles and a 30kg warhead (it claims over-the-horizon and safe stand off), primarily to be used as a precision-strike anti-ship missile. Capable of doing significant damage to corvettes and small frigates, it’s really supposed to deal with littoral fast attack craft of up to 1000 tons.

Spear 3 is a fixed-wing-launched missile with a far longer quoted range, over 80 miles, and smaller (8kg?), multi-effect warhead, primarily anti-ground.

So I suppose it’s shorter distance bigger bang versus longer distance smaller bang.

Sonik

Spear does the swarming/auto targeting thing too, I think it’s primarily for SEAD, although it could be used like that as an ASM too, to target multiple specific parts of a vessel e.g. Bridge, Mast, Uptakes, VLS etc.

So in theory it could be used (in number) to comprehensively mission-kill any size of vessel, but it’s probably too expensive for dealing with Boghammars and other FIACs, hence Martlet and Venom.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ben Robins
Dabohl

So, no report on the fire and forget version that was supposedly going to be looked at?