Martel Missile (AJ.168) (AS.37)

The Martel was a medium-range, air-to-surface missile developed by the British and French firms Hawker-Siddely/Matra for the Royal Air Force and the French Armee de l’Air. They were launched from the Blackburn Buccaneer, the Jaguar, and the Mirage III aircraft. "MARTEL" stands for "Missile, Anti-Radiation, Television, which referred to the two versions. Thus, the Martel missile was manufactured in two variants: the anti-radar and passive radar homing AS.37, and the anti-ship TV (video) guided AJ.168.


Weighing 550 kg, the Martel AJ.168 measured 12 ft 9 inches (4,18m) in length and 1 ft 4 inches (0.4m) in diameter. It was powered by a two-stage solid propellant rocket engines and was armed with a 330lb armor-piercing (SAM) warhead fused by radar. The operational range of the AJ 168 was 40 miles (65 km). The AJ.168 video-guided Martel missile flew a pre-determined mid-course tragectory at a reasonable altitude so as to allow ‘Target Aquisition’ plus maintain the ‘Data Link’ with the launch aircraft. The missile was fitted with a Marconi Vidicon camera which transmitted TV imagery back to the Data Link pod, which in turn transmitted control inputs commanded by the Buccaneer’s navigator/observer using the small control stick. The Martel AJ.168 missile, unlike it’s successor the Sea Eagle, did not attack it’s target at sea level. Instead the missile dived from some height, rendering it vulnerable to later shipborne defence systems.

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Thor is Carlos Benito Camacho, the manager and writer of this blog.