The Eurofighter consortium and MBDA are looking at the feasibility of integrating the Marte-ER air-to-sea missile on the Typhoon fighter to meet an Indian requirement that is part of the Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft program.

The work includes a recent fit-check of missiles on the fighter, says Stefano Chiatti, a special adviser to MBDA. A Typhoon would be able to carry three Marte-ERs under each wing, rather than merely a total of two RBS-15s, he notes. The missile, to be known as the Marte-ERP in this configuration, would also have less effect on the fighter’s handling, he asserts.

A typical load would see a Typhoon carry four missiles, on the inner and outer wing stations, with a fuel tank on the center wing station, although it also could feature a Marte-ERP if desired.

The Marte-ER would not feature the folding fins associated with the helicopter-launched version of the missile. It also would shed the booster, which is not needed to get the missile up to speed, and that, in turn, permits the use of a larger warhead. The Marte-ERP warhead would weigh about 120 kg (265 lb.) rather than around 70 kg and have penetrating and sector-blast properties.

Chiatti says there is still time to complete development work because the anti-ship requirement does not have to be met until 2017.

MBDA would work closely with the Indian Defense Research & Development Organization on the concept, in particular the warhead, which also would have the advantage of helping Eurofighter meet part of its industrial offset package should it win the MMRCA competition over the Dassault Rafale.

One of the advantages of using six slightly smaller missiles rather than two RBS-15s is the ability to better overwhelm ships’ air defenses. Chiatti notes that the Typhoon and Marte-ERP would be used against larger, well-protected ships such as Chinese vessels with the HQ-9 air defense system. By firing six missiles, the chances of saturating the radar in one sector increases. Moreover, he notes, the use of a turbojet allows an operator to stagger the missiles’ arrival to take advantages of times the radar is shifting between different modes, such as tracking, scanning and uplinking.

The baseline Marte-ER has a range of more than 100 km (62 mi.) when launched from a rotorcraft and replaces the Marte Mk2 motor with the turbojet.