The Martlet missile successfully repelled the Russian Shahed drone attack. (Photo: News Week)
JAKARTA – The superiority of the Martlet Missile on the battlefield has been proven. The laser-guided missiles supplied by Britain to Ukraine successfully repelled a wave of attacks by Russia’s Shahed kamikaze drones on Kyiv at the end of November 2023.
The Times reported that the Martlet missile operated by Ukraine succeeded in destroying a total of 213 drones, not only the Shahed but also the Russian-made Lancet and Orlan drones.
Reporting from News Week, Wednesday (12/6/2023), air defense has been Kyiv’s focus throughout the 21-month conflict, especially because Russia has continuously launched missile and drone attacks to weaken Ukraine’s energy and logistics infrastructure.
The Martlet missiles were delivered to Ukraine as part of air defense assistance alongside Starstreak missiles and have been in use since late March 2022.
Martlet is a lightweight precision missile that can be launched from air, sea or land. This missile is claimed to be able to overcome various threats, including armored vehicles and unmanned aircraft. “The Martlet was originally developed as a naval weapon for use against ships, but has proven effective against land targets, said weapons expert David Hambling.
Thales, which makes the missile in Northern Ireland, said the Martlet missile was also designed to operate in urban environments. “This is a useful additional capability for Ukraine and of course the more weapons they get the better,” Hambling said.
However, the missiles are much more expensive, perhaps up to 50 times more than the cost of a typical Ukrainian drone. “Martlet is without doubt more effective and would be very welcome, but in small numbers this becomes a niche skill,” Hambling said.
In late November, Ukraine’s military said Russia had launched a wave of Shahed drone attacks on its territory. At least 75 drones were launched into Ukraine from two locations in Russia. Russian drones attacked at least six regions, including Kyiv.
Ukraine’s military predicts the Kremlin will repeat its campaign of devastating missile and drone attacks. Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Colonel Yuriy Ignat said in early October Kyiv was preparing for larger drone strikes than in previous years, noting 500 Shahed drones launched by Russia in September 2023 alone.