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AS 37 Martel
AS 37 Armat
AJ.168 Martel

The AS 37 MARTEL [Missile Anti-Radar and Television, evidently a retronym] is the product of a collaboration between the British firm of Hawker-Siddely, and Matra in France. The missile was created in two versions: with a television guidance system - AJ.168 and with a passive radar homing head - AS-37. The missile saw service in the French air force and navy and in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force and was carried by Buccaneer aircraft in the anti-shipping role in the cold war.

The name Martel means "hammer". Charles Martel, b. about 688; d. at Quierzy on the Oise, 21 October 741. By around 730, at the extremity of the empire a dreadful storm was gathering. For several years the Mohammedans of Spain had been threatening Gaul. Banished thence in 721 by Duke Eudes, they had returned in 725 and penetrated as far as Burgundy, where they had destroyed Autun. Duke Eudes, unable to resist them, at length contented himself by negotiating with them, and to Othmar, one of their chiefs, he gave the hand of his daughter. But this compromising alliance brought him into disfavour with Charles, who defeated him in 731, and the death of Othmar that same year again left Eudes at the mercy of Mohammedan enterprise. In 732 Abd-er-Rahman, Governor of Spain, crossed the Pyrenees at the head of an immense army, overcame Duke Eudes, and advanced by way of Bordeaux as far as the Loire, pillaging and burning as he went. In October, 732, Charles met Abd-er-Rahman outside of Tours and defeated and slew him in a battle which must ever remain one of the great events in the history of the world, as upon its issue depended whether Christian civilization should continue or Mohammedanism prevail throughout Europe. It was this battle, it is said, that gave Charles his name, Mattel "The Hammer", because of the merciless way in which he smote the enemy. The remainder of Charles Martel's reign was an uninterrupted series of triumphant combats.

The AS.37, employed by both the British and the French, uses a movable receiver aerial to lock onto the hostile radar emission and send guidance signals to the small set of control fins behind the wings. Length of the AS.37 version Martel is reported at 412 centimeters, and it weighs 1213 lbs. at launch. Speed is high subsonic, although it is claimed to break the sound barrier in a steep attack. The "Martel" rocket has a normal aerodynamic configuration. The body is cylindrical. It has a large swept cruciform wing. The wing is triangular in plan with cut ends and has a lenticular profile. Control surfaces are located at a close distance behind the wing.

The propulsion consists of a starting and sustainer solid propellant engines located one after the other. The gas outlet pipe of the propulsion engine passes through the starting engine, which is connected to a nozzle attached to the bottom. This bottom contains four nozzles of the starting engine. The passive radar homing head of the missile operates at fixed frequencies of several ranges and is designed mainly to defeat enemy pulsed radars. Before the combat use of the AS-37 against a radar of a known type, the local oscillator of the reconnaissance receiver is tuned to a certain frequency.

In early 1962, the two Chiefs of Staff of the Air Forces took cooperation for aircraft and missiles. The working group missiles concluded, at the end of 1962, that there were common missile needs anti-radar air-to-ground and television. As for the need for air-to-air missiles, it was related to the a joint combat aircraft.

In early 1963, the official British service MOA (Ministry of Aviation), had undertaken preparatory studies on television detection at the RAE (Royal Aircraft Establishment, whose Guided Weapons division was a technical center with 400 technicians and scientists) and the Marconi Company and bac and HSD, which could become technical leaders in the missile, without being masters of prime contractors. This was the AJ 168 program. On the other hand on the other hand, the official services were interested in an anti-radar, without having the budget needed.

In response to a need expressed by the EMAA, the STAé had launched two consultations, one in Nord-Aviation and Matra for the missile project (AR) AS 37 and the other for its self-director's project. The choice of Missilier had turned to Matra, as the self-guided part of his project was more Expanded. For the television missile, the EMAA was interested, but did not hold it budgeted. The STAé had carried out a project, called AS 36, by Nord-Aviation (AS 30 vehicle with television guidance).

After confronting needs and projects, the RAE and the STAé arrived to conclusion that a common program was possible, low-level altitude (30 km) and the mass of the missile (500 kg) being close. In September 1963, the decision was taken by the MOA and DTIA to ask HSD and Matra to deepen this concept. This choice was related to previous relationships HSD with Matra.

At a meeting in December 1963, the two companies presented the two official services delegations, led by Mr. Dickins, Director General of the MOA missiles, and by IGA Lecamus, director at DTIA, a project considered highly promising: a common piloted vehicle and equipment specific to each version (antiradar or television) made up of the guidance block and the load. The two directors decided to cooperate and retain this project.

Two anecdotes can give an idea of the atmosphere of this era. The during the lunch, the president of HSD indicated that the most difficult problem was the program name choice: Janus, the two-headed God? It was tricky, because the the common receiver of the self-director of the anti-radar version had to have several specific radars to attack, from the J-band to the L-band. After this HSD project team was replaced. HSD, having not had not chosen its leader in advance, unlike Matra, who had appointed an engineer capable of leading the program at its end.

By the first quarter of 1964, the basis for cooperation had been adopted and the MoU (Memorandum Of Understanding) prepared. Work began April 1, 1964 and the MoU was signed in October 1964. These were the methods at the time: a technical director had a wide margin of decision. A consultation on the name was later organised by IGA Munnich, President of the French delegation to the Steering Committee: missile anti-radar television, or Martel, was chosen.

The modalities of this cooperation had some originalities. The organization of official services was based on a Steering Committee Committee) and a Technical Subcommittee (SCT), at the STAé and MOA level, responsible for development. This subcommittee created specialized groups, such as the Testing Group, which includes representatives of the (for France: STAé, EMAA, EMM, CEV, CEAM and Matra, and corresponding services for the United Kingdom). The two prime contractors co-ordnate companies coordinated and reported monthly to TBS on progress of the work. A production subcommittee was later established.

Each version was under the contractual and financial responsibility of an industrial prime contractor: for anti-radar, France and Matra, for television, UK and HSD. A balanced sharing was achieved for common equipment, and the principle of funding by each country responsible was maintained. For serial production, the formula was devised by the IGA (M) René Bloch, head of international relations at DTIA: across all orders from both countries, each benefited from a share of its financing development and ordering operational equipment. Production export orders were to be evenly distributed between the two Country.

The climate of cooperation between official services and contractors was excellent during the development phase; the exchanges were balanced and constructive. A friendship had been formed between those responsible, between IGA Munnich and Bernard Holdin, who was French-speaking: frank explanations could take place. The basics of the chosen MoU (application by each country's administrative procedures, lack of funding and clear designation of the responsible authority) are not for nothing in this success.

It should be noted that the RAE had many more technical experts than the DTIA; the principle of certain circuits of the self-director, for the discrimination of echoes created by the rotating antennas of surveillance radars, was proposed RAE. The development was successfully completed in 1969, despite many technical difficulties that resulted from the program's innovations. However, a "black book" of this cooperation exists, following the difficulties Policies.

In 1965, the STAé ordered air-to-ground missiles to collect nuclear dust, fired during aerial tests. This was the 637, based on the Martel's vehicle and which included piloting equipment produced by the Hsd. The MOA, informed, accepted Matra's order to HSD under the Special Rounds; but these materials were blocked at customs... and delivered a week before the shooting. The UK government did not want to officially support the French nuclear tests. Matra had to develop and produce this equipment quickly.

The Air Staff’s operational requirement for TSR.2, number OR.343, was redrafted several times with the F-111 in mind before being reissued formally at Issue 3 in October 1965. In almost all cases, US equipment was eventually preferred over British but there remained a number of important differences between the USAF’s standard aircraft and the UK variant, formally designated F-111K in June 1966. There would be British nuclear weapons – not US weapons under a “dual-key arrangement” – and with British nuclear wiring. This meant, specifically, one or two high-yield WE177B bombs for UK-based aircraft; or the same number of low-yield WE177As for aircraft east of Suez. The Anglo-French Martel, a conventional air-to-surface missile, would also be carried.

The AS-37 anti-radar missile entered service in 1969. The Mirage-3, Jaguar, Bucaneer, Harrier, Atlantic, and Nimrod aircraft were equipped with Martel missiles of both types. The total capital cost, including research and development, of adapting the Buccaneer Mark 2 to carry Martel was estimated at approximately £10 million.

In 1969, when production was launched, France decided not to order the Martel TELEVISION. The pretext was that the guidance of this version required a two-seater aircraft, while the Jaguar was single-seater. The argument was Questionable. In addition to the actual budgetary constraints, there was a spirit anti-British drug to EMAA. The balance created by the MoU for production was broken, especially since very interested customers in 1966 and 1967 renounced: for the United States, it was necessary to deliver no later than one year, intervention in Vietnam is due to end. For Germany, the budget was not compatible with the expected stock. The frank cooperation was dead.

Finally, in 1977, the United Kingdom was hostile to the export of the Martel anti-radar to Iraq. This was the condition of this country's purchase of the Mirage F1. Matra had to produce a derivative version: Armat (antiradar Matra). The cooperation was over. In the 1980s, the United Kingdom developed its own anti-radar missile, Alarm.

The updated version of the AS-37, known as the Armat, was introduced in 1984 using the same airframe but with an updated radar seeker. This missile has an improved seeker and increased flight range. ARMAT missiles are part of the armament of the Mirage-2000 and Jaguar aircraft. The somewhat shorter, television-guided AJ.168 version of the Martel is used only by the British. The firms Electronique Marcel Dassault (France) and Marconi (UK) took part in developing the missile. The former created the guidance system for the AS- 37 version and the latter the electronics for the AJ-168 version.

In September 1975, the UK Government decided the next steps to be taken on the procurement of major guided weapons systems for the British Forces. For the prior three years the UK kept open the option of developing Hawker Siddeley Dynamics' system Sub-Martel (based on the Anglo-French Martel air-launched anti-ship missile) and we have investigated the possibility of collaboration with the French extending into this new field. However, it was recognised from the beginning that the costs of developing Sub-Martel would be very high and that if McDonnell Douglas's development of their underwater-to-surface guided weapon Harpoon was successful (as it has been) that system was likely to be the more attractive proposition. This has been a particularly difficult issue to decide but the Government have now ? reached the conclusion that the right course is to terminate the development of Sub-Martel and open negotiations for Sub-Harpoon.

In order to maintain the capacity of Hawker Siddeley MoD provided them with a research programme of very great interest. It is long term, but it is of interest. The intention is to discuss with Hawker Siddeley Dynamics a replacement for the cancellation of Sub-Martel, which at the end of the day will affect only 200 to 300 people, and in an industry of this size that is not very much. We are proposing with them an extension and expansion of the technology demonstrator programme on which they are currently engaged and which is at present primarily concerned with proving a novel control concept for air-to-air missiles. The expanded program could have application to a number of future missile requirements. Hawker Siddeley was not going to suffer a savage cut and be left with nothing in place.

Sub-Harpoon provided better value than Sub-Martel because it was likely to be considerably cheaper and available both sooner and with less technical and financial risk. In addition, it possessed useful advantages in a longer range and a more powerful warhead.



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Page last modified: 30-06-2021 12:05:12 ZULU