The LMMs in the initial batch use laser beam riding with infrared terminal homing and a laser proximity sensor, although a semi-active laser version is under development for precision surface attack roles. But recent incidents where both merchant and military shipping have been attacked by manned and unmanned surface and air systems armed with explosive devices, underlined the risks faced by Royal Navy units deployed in danger zones. Thales has conducted successful guidance control firings, including a semi-active laser (SAL) version. The most likely contract affected is for Starstreak, which is approaching the end of its term. The Royal Navy wanted to add to those defences and turned to the new missile system, modifying it so a launcher could be fitted to the existing 30mm automatic gun.
In other words, other contract(s) were cut and the funds switched to paying for LMM. Royal Navy News Release, 16 July 2019: HMS Sutherland fired four new Martlet missiles at a fast-moving speedboat off the Welsh coast to see whether the weapon could be launched from a ship as well as a helicopter. The Martlet missile was designed to be fired from Wildcat helicopters towards small boats. Next year the Wildcat fleet will embark on Carrier Strike Group missions with HMS Queen Elizabeth on its maiden operational deployment. As of 2019 it was not clear whether the Royal Navy intends to equip any more Type 23s with the system. The MoD contract includes the design, development and qualification of a laser beam rider version of LMM, together with production of an initial quantity of 1,000 missiles. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) placed an initial order for 1,000 missiles and deliveries due to start in 2013. Philip McBride, general manager of Integrated Airspace-protection Systems as Thales UK, said: “Martlet will ensure the Wildcat has the best-in-class offensive capability to protect the carrier strike group. In comparison to the LMM, the FFLMM removes the rocket motor and associated components while keeping the body and control actuators, as well as adding inertial navigation system and GPS navigation, semi-active laser guidance in place of the beam-riding system, and four enlarged fins for increased lift. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) placed an initial order for 1,000 missiles and deliveries due to start in 2013.  However, initial operating capability has been considerably delayed and is now expected in 2021 with full operating capability anticipated in 2024. After first proving that the gun could still fire accurately with the missile fitted – 120 rounds obliterated a large red ‘killer tomato’ target – and that the sensors behind Martlet could track its radio-controlled foe at ranges of up to five kilometres.
The weapon had been in development for 18 months and undergone initial test drops in August 2013. Royal Navy helicopter crews have proved their ability to protect the UK’s aircraft carriers with a new missile system. As sailors and marines support the current national fight against COVID-19, the Yeovilton-based Wildcat Maritime Force, which includes 815 Naval Air Squadron, is focused on ensuring the UK is prepared for future global threats. Malcolm McKenzie from the missile’s manufacturer Thales said: “The rapid integration of Lightweight Multi-Role Missile on to the 30mm gun demonstrates how Thales can quickly develop cost-effective high capability solutions to meet the evolving threats faced by our naval forces. Blasting from a Wildcat helicopter, the new Martlet missile was this week tested on a range off the coast of Wales. A potential role for the Fury could be to arm medium intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) UAVs like the RQ-7 Shadow to deal with fleeting or time-sensitive targets.. These were due to enter service in 2015 but where considerably delayed. “The Fighting Clan has always had a reputation for being at the forefront of innovation and we were delighted to be chosen to support this trial.”, The frigate’s Commanding Officer Commander Tom Weaver added: “The impressive result of this trial was achieved through the hard work and cooperation of a wide array of industry and defence partners and it was rewarding for Sutherland to have played such a key role in its success.”.
 Development began in 2008 and the LMM uses technology from an earlier Thales missile, the Starstreak. LMM is intended to provide a single family of weapons that can be used in different modes, including:.
The Navy’s Type 23 frigate, HMS Sutherland (F81) fired four Martlet missiles at a fast-moving speedboat off the Welsh coast to see whether the weapon could be launched from a ship as well as a helicopter.
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