Anti-Ship Missile

Arlington, VA

MBDA’s new Marte ER anti-ship missile successfully completed its final test firing at the end of November 2021. Carried out at an Italian test range in Sardinia, the firing was a key milestone in the validation process of Marte ER. It provided extra confidence in the performance level and reliability of this new missile.

A telemetric production standard missile with all functional capabilities and production hardware embedded was used. The only exception was the use of an inert warhead instead of a live one. The ground-based launching system used was also in its final hardware and software configuration.

Using its mission planning software, the missile carried out a long-range sea skimming flight. It made three main turns and a pop-up / dive maneuver during the last turn. A straight segment then followed up to the RF seeker activation point. Target identification, selection and tracking was extremely fast and proportional guidance started soon after.

During its terminal phase, the missile successfully performed its anti-Close-in Weapon Systems maneuver, hitting the target just above the water line at high transonic speed. This confirmed the effectiveness of Marte ER’s terminal guidance with its new solid state RF Seeker. The firing also showed Marte ER’s turbojet engine behavior was excellent for both “in flight start time” and thrust level. This firing was the last one in the development path of Marte ER, which will enter into operation early next year.

MARTE ER represents the 3rd generation within the MARTE family of missile systems and is derived from MARTE MK2/S which is already in service with the Italian Navy on its NFH90 and AW101 helicopters. The main difference between the two lies in the introduction of a turbo engine in place of the rocket motor. MARTE ER’s design takes into account that MARTE MK2/S is already qualified and installed on these two helicopter platforms, which offers the following advantages:

  • Same mechanical, functional & electrical helicopter interfaces.

  • No platform hardware changes required to manage the MARTE ER missile; only software changes to the Store Management System (SMS) are required to manage longer range performance.

  • The helicopter, with the new version of SMS software, is capable of operating both MARTE MK2/S and MARTE ER missiles.

  • Same logistic support, in terms of benches, trolley and most handling and maintenance tools and schedule.

The MARTE ER missile, which is 3.60m long, weighs 315 kg, and has a maximum body diameter of 316 mm, is also going to be integrated on Eurofighter TYPHOON and other fast jets.

MBDA is the only European defence group capable of designing and producing missiles and missile systems that correspond to the full range of current and future operational needs of all three armed forces: land, sea and air. MBDA is jointly owned by Airbus (37.5%), BAE Systems (37.5%), and Leonardo (25%).

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