British Air Force conducts first test firing of MARTLET missile from Jackal Helicopter drone

For the first time, the British Royal Air Force conducted a test firing of a missile from a drone, and an LMM/MARTLET surface-to-air missile was fired from an unmanned helicopter drone named Jackal.
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For the first time, the British Royal air force conducted a missile test fired from a helicopter drone. (Picture source ScrenShot British Royal Air Force Video)

UK-based Flyby Technology, along with Turkish partners FlyBVLOS Technology and Maxwell Innovations have collaboratively designed and developed the JACKAL drone capability in response to a recently identified gap in modern combat operations.

As a Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) platform, the JACKAL is engineered to fulfill various roles, such as Battlefield Air Interdiction, Close Air Support, engaging helicopters in flight, neutralizing tanks, and restricting the use of runways and roads.

The design of the Jackal is similar to a small helicopter, the main body of the drone is equipped with two wings, on which are mounted two rotors on the upper part for vertical takeoff, and two small turbines for horizontal movement. It has a wingspan of 5 m.

The Jackal boasts a payload capacity of 15 kilograms and a range of 130 kilometers. It can also fly at an altitude of up to 4,000m and reach a maximum cruising speed of 108 km/h. In the future, the company plans to enhance both the payload and range of the UAV through new versions tailored to meet end users' mission needs.

During the missile firing test, the Jackal was equipped with two tube launchers mounted on the front upper part of the drone body, which was used to fire an LMM/MARTLET surface-to-air missile.

Thales LMM (Lightweight Multirole Missile), also known as MARTLET in its British version, is a lightweight air-to-surface missile designed for use on helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The LMM/MARTLET missile is a precision-guided weapon that can be used against various targets, including armored vehicles, small boats, and personnel. It has a maximum range of up to 8 kilometers (5 miles) and can be launched from various platforms, including a ground-based tripod launcher.

The missile is equipped with a semi-active laser seeker and a high-explosive warhead, enabling it to engage both stationary and moving targets with pinpoint accuracy. The LMM/MARTLET missile also features low-collateral damage capability, which means it can be used in urban environments without causing excessive damage to surrounding structures.