Sea Skua

Sea Skua

Infobox Weapon

caption= Westland Lynx Mk.88A of the German Navy armed with Sea Skua missiles
name=Sea Skua
origin= United Kingdom
era= 1980-Present
launch_platform= Helicopter launched
manufacturer= British Aerospace Dynamics (now MBDA)
used_by= United Kingdom Brazil Germany
Malaysia Kuwait
wars=Falklands War Gulf War
spec_type=Anti-ship missile
diameter= 0.25 m
wingspan=0.72 m
length=2.5 m
weight=145 kg
speed=Mach 0.8 +
vehicle_range=25 km
filling=28 kg
engine=solid fuel booster and solid fuel sustainer
steering=control surfaces
guidance=semi-active radar
detonation=Impact Fuze, delayed detonation.

The Sea Skua is a British lightweight short range Air-to-Surface missile (ASM) designed use from helicopters against ships. It is primarily used by the Royal Navy on the Lynx helicopter, although it can be ship launched and is in place as a shore battery and also on patrol boats in the Emirate of Kuwait.

With the missile weighing only 320 lb (145 kg) at launch, a Lynx can carry up to four simultaneously. The missile flies at high subsonic speed over ranges of 15.5 miles (25 km). It can be set to travel at one of four pre-selected heights, depending on the surface conditions. Near the target the missile climbs in altitude to a height where it can "acquire" the target. The Sea Skua has semi-active radar guidance; the launching helicopter illuminates the target with its radar (originally the specially developed Ferranti Seaspray in the case of the Lynx), and the missile's homing head homes in on the reflected energy. On impact it penetrates the hull of a ship before detonating the 62 lb (28 kg) blast fragmentation warhead.


As well as the United Kingdom, the Sea Skua has seen service with Germany (will be replaced from 2012 on), India, Kuwait, and Turkey.

It was launched eight times during the Falklands War, sometimes in appalling weather conditions, scoring a very high hit rate. Four were used against the 800 ton patrol boat/rescue tug "Alférez Sobral", fired by two Lynx aircraft from HMS "Coventry" and HMS "Glasgow". Two struck her on the bridge, one hit the ship's fibreglass sea boat, and one passed over the ship. Middlebrook, Martin. "The Fight for the Malvinas: The Argentine Forces in the Falklands War". Viking, 1989, p 118. ISBN 0-85052-978-6.] Extensive damage was inflicted and eight crewmen (including the captain) were killed, but the ship was not sunk and returned to Puerto Deseado unaided. Another four Sea Skuas were used to destroy the wrecks of the cargo ship Río Carcarañá (8,500 grt) and the patrol boat Río Iguazú. The missile was also launched 12 times during the Gulf War against Iraqi patrol boats in the area of Failaka island.

Royal Malaysian Navy Service

The Sea Skua entered service with the Royal Malaysian Navy as part of the package for the purchase of six AgustaWestland Sea Lynx 300 helicopters for the Royal Malaysian Navy. The missiles supposedly cost RM104-million.

On 16 March, 2006 the Royal Malaysian Navy test fired the Sea Skua missile as part of a Contractual Firing exercise. The missile was fired eight miles down range from the 40m Surface Target Barge. The Sea Skua failed to hit its target and failed to explode. The fault was believed to have been traced to a faulty connecting pin wire that ignites the rocket motor. The missile fell into the sea, and was not recovered. The Royal Malaysian Navy ordered Matra Bae Dynamics (MBDA) to take back the missiles to conduct system checks, and re-tested.

On 12 February 2008, the Royal Malaysian Navy successfully conducted a second firing. The missile was fired from maximum range and hit a surface target.





ee also

* Penguin missile
* Skua - the bird the missile is named after

External Video

* [ Video of a Malaysian Sea Skua live firing test]

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