in Defence

Royal Marines hone skills on Welsh ranges

Posted 26 June 2018 · Add Comment

Commando heavy weapon specialists tested their ability to down enemy air power by hitting the Welsh ranges – and hitting drone targets thrown at them.

The High Velocity Missile is the Corps’ last line of defence against jets and helicopters – a lightweight, portable weapon which can be fired over the shoulder or from a specialist launcher.

Courtesy Royal Navy

The High Velocity Missile is the Corps’ last line of defence against jets and helicopters – a lightweight, portable weapon which can be fired over the shoulder or from a specialist launcher.

It is operated by Air Defence Troop – one of the commandos’ three specialist heavy weapons teams (the remaining two are anti-tank and mortars) – who headed to Manorbier Range near Tenby to test the missiles… and test their aim.

The HVM missile has a first-stage motor which throws it forward from the launcher after which the second stage known as the 'bus' kicks in and boosts the missile to over 2,000mph – more than three times the speed of sound, or faster than a rifle bullet.

The 'bus' burns out after less than a second and then three small 'darts' separate which are guided to the target by the operator using a laser beam, directed by a small joystick on the launcher known as the aiming unit.

Months of planning was completed before the Plymouth-based marines rocked up in south-west Wales.

Each operator has to complete hundreds of shots on a simulator to prove that they are ready to fire a live missile by repeatedly tracking a target drone with a laser.

Those drones – Banshees, about two metres long and designed to survive the impact with the missile – are fitted with a sophisticated radar which allows the controllers to estimate if the missile would have destroyed a full-sized aircraft.

Also, each missile launch is studied in detail by technicians from manufacturers Thales, who provide telemetry feedback which allows the Gunnery Training Team to evaluate the success of each engagement.

All of the science doesn’t detract from the thrill of firing a weapon which travels at Mach 3.

“Using the shoulder launch missile, I was lucky enough to shoot down the Banshee,” said Mne Anthony Darver, one of the specialists being assessed.


* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Latest News

Gardner acquisition of Northern Aerospace backed by Nat West

One of the aerospace industry’s largest suppliers of aircraft components, Derby based Gardner Aerospace, has agreed a new £90 million bi-lateral funding package with NatWest, enabling it to expand and aquire precision parts

BAE Systems supports development of NMRN

BAE Systems has announced a new collaboration with The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, helping to develop the Museum's internationally significant collections.

Britain competes to launch an estimated 2,000 satellites by 2030

During his first visit to the site of a future UK spaceport in Sutherland last week, Business Secretary Greg Clark expanded on the commercial opportunities to be gained.

BSI releases major revision of international standard for auditing management systems

Business standards company, BSI, has published the revised international standard for auditing management systems, BS EN ISO 19011:2018.

MASS introduces military-grade cloud-based network capability beyond government

Cohort plc company, MASS, has developed a new military-grade cloud-based network capability, which includes office functionality, messaging, private secured intranet, video calling and secured software, all hosted on UK

EasyJet in drive to become world's most data driven airline

EasyJet has launched a recruitment drive for 28 data scientists to join the airline’s drive towards data, with Luca Zuccoli, the airline’s first Chief Data Officer, due to join this month.

ODU SK191217191218
See us at
Aviation Africa 2019DVD18BT3105200918SMI GMSCBT3005081118AdvancedEngin BT1406011118SMIFAVSBT151118