Qatar’s navy proceeds with MBDA’s extended-range Marte ER missiles

The European multinational missile development company MBDA's Marte ER anti-ship missile, an extended-range version of the existing Marte missiles, was launched with the Qatar Emiri Armed Forces under contract, stated Patrice Hajjar, MBDA's Middle East vice president, earlier this year at a defense fair.

Hajjar mentioned that the first deliveries were completed last year, and the contract is progressing well, in an interview with DefenseHere during the sidelines of the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition & Conference (DIMDEX) in Qatar in March.

He elaborated that the company has enhanced the range of the existing Marte missiles to over 100 kilometers with a turbojet in Marte ER and upgraded the seeker.

“Additionally, the software and all related countermeasures were upgraded,” he added, noting, “so basically, you have the same features as an Exocet, but in a smaller, more compact version, as the missile is roughly 3.6 meters in length.”

The Marte ER possesses anti-jamming capability with mission planning and can define preset trajectories with 3D waypoints in both the vertical and horizontal dimensions.

It also provides the capability to hit fixed targets and land targets based on GPS coordinates.

Expanding on the contract with Qatar, Hajjar explained that the initial contract was for coastal batteries, and shortly after, they secured the contract for the NH90 helicopters.

He emphasized, “This is the beauty of the Marte ER, since it can be integrated into multiple platforms, from ground, naval, and air platforms.”

In response to a question regarding why Qatar decided to proceed with this missile and its performance feedback, Hajjar mentioned that Marte ER was chosen due to its latest state-of-the-art technologies and already qualified integration. He highlighted that with Marte ER, the mechanical interface remains the same, reducing integration activities and costs significantly.

“We also conducted firings from coastal batteries, which were very successful and took place with the Qatari Armed Forces,” he said, adding that this particular missile has been part of the Italian navy, that is to say "the backbone of the anti-ship missile capability of the Italian Navy.”

Regarding cooperation possibilities within Qatar, particularly with Qatar's Barzan Holding in the future, Hajjar stated that they are resuming discussions on various projects for future collaboration.

“We are examining future requirements together with Barzan and exploring opportunities to localize and transfer know-how and technology in Qatar.”

“We have a training partnership with them at the MBDA Missile Systems. They have been incorporated into this, and we had a group of people from Barzan Holdings trained in different fields related to missile systems. We are looking to strengthen this partnership with them,” he said.

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