Surface Forces: Another 60s Superstar Rocks On

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March 17, 2017: The UAE (United Arab Emirates) has ordered more (50-60) Marte MK2/N anti-ship missiles along with upgrades for existing Marte missiles they have and spare parts for future use. This follows a 2009 order for a hundred Marte missiles, mainly to equip their dozen 12 Ghannatha II Fast Attack Craft. Each of these 27 meter (86 foot) vessels carries four Marte missiles. Ghannatha has a top speed of over 80 kilometers an hour and is used to protect the Hormuz Strait from Iranian attacks.

The Marte MK2/N is the latest derivative of the 1960s era Sea Killer, now Marte anti-ship missile. One of the few export customers was Iran in the 1970s. Export sales increased considerably when Sea Killer was adapted to fire from helicopters as well as surface ships. In the early 1980s the missile was upgraded from semi-active radar homing to active radar homing. This made Marte MK2 a fire and forget weapon. Several upgrades followed in the 1990s and after 2000.

The current Marte is 3.95 meters (12 feet) long and weighs about 310 kg (680 pounds). It has a range of over 30 kilometers. This is ideal for use from smaller boats that have radars that can’t see much beyond 40 kilometers.

Marte uses GPS (with INS backup) for navigation (to the general target area) and the active radar seeker for terminal flight (identifying and homing in) guidance. Marte can perform a series of evasive maneuvers including re-attack if necessary. This makes Marte more effective against electronic and anti-missile defenses.

Marte uses a 75 kilogram (165 pound) blast and fragmentation warhead. This is adequate to seriously damage or destroy medium size vessels (corvettes and frigates). -- Przemysław Juraszek

 

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