In order to enhance the protection of the supercarrier Queen Elizabeth, a Royal Navy “Wildcat” fighter successfully launched the Martlet light missile for the first time in frontline operations. Helicopters deployed from the Royal Navy Defender in the Pacific Ocean attacked an inflatable target. This was the first demonstration of the group’s ability to counter hordes of small boats and similar ships.
Although no aircraft carrier has been sunk in combat since 1945, they are often considered vulnerable. As a result, the Navy, which operates appropriate attack aircraft carrier formations, puts a lot of effort into protecting these assets.
In many ways, the aircraft carrier appeared to be attacked naked. It does not carry guns, does not have any obvious missile batteries, and it looks like a large floating target. In fact, aircraft carriers are not only difficult to sink, but they can move at amazing speeds while staying on the high seas as much as possible, which makes it difficult for people to even find them, let alone aim at them.
In addition, each aircraft carrier is surrounded by a protection net provided by its escort task force’s ships, submarines, and shore-based aircraft, as well as its own fighter wing and helicopters, and the protection net extends hundreds of miles around it. Therefore, any offensive force must penetrate many layers of defense designed to detect and eliminate from torpedoes to cruise missiles.
However, aircraft carriers do not always spend in open waters. With the advancement of technology, the scope of potential threats is also expanding. One of them is in fragile situations, such as when approaching a port, hostile forces may use groups of small boats, jet skis and similar small boats to launch attacks.
In response to this situation, a Martlet missile was dropped from the Wildcat and accelerated to Mach 1.5 in 0.3 seconds. Each “Wildcat” can carry 20 laser sensor missiles, making it suitable for handling multiple stationary and moving targets.
The Martlet missile was previously called the “light multipurpose missile” (LMM) and was developed by Thales Air Defense Systems. In fact, it is not newly developed. It was developed on the basis of a shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile “Starstreak” developed by the United Kingdom. The “Starstreak” missile entered service in 1997 and is a very distinctive. A 2-stage rocket propelled surface-to-air missile with three tungsten alloy warheads. The combat slant range is 7 kilometers and the speed can reach Mach 4. Infrared guidance such as “stab” is guided by laser beam driving.