The Type 43 Anti-Ship Missile is the supplement to the larger Type 40 Anti-Ship Missile, a smaller and cheaper missile for shorter ranges and smaller targets, designed to sink vessels of up to 5,000 tons or to cripple them beyond recognition with one missile hit. The Type 43 also smarts when hitting larger vessels with it.
While Mark I is a pure-blooded anti-ship missile, Mark II can also act as a small, short-range land attack missile, with Mark III being the aircraft launched variation of Mark I.
The Type 43 Anti-Ship Missile is a subsonic missile featuring a cruciform wing configuration and fins in flight, with the air duct intake for the Turbofan engine semi-submerged in the missile's body. The missile with a weight of 565 kilograms and a speed of Mach 0.9, or 1,102.57 kilometres per hour, carries a warhead of 150 kilograms, in the standard version a HE shaped fragmentation charge, but that can be changed quite easily, for example to around 100 kilograms of bright yellow paint and electronics detecting mistakes in the handling of the missiles, as used by the Mark T missile.
The Type 43 Anti-Ship Missile can be quad-packed into the Feadán Fe-12 VLS-modules, as well as other VLS-shafts for hot launch of similar size then the Fe-12, but the deployment from box launchers, the torpedo tubes of submarines and land-based launchers are also possible (in fact, SDY is currently developing a launch vehicle complex for the Type 43 Anti-Ship Missile together with Gabha Blacksmiths Limited).
Employable in sea states up to sea state 6 and at any time of the day, the Type 43 Anti-Ship Missile can also be deployed under enemy fire and under enemy countermeasures (details below), while avoiding detection both due sea-skimming, meaning the flight very low above the waters surface, and the usage of radar-absorbent materials in its construction, as well as a propellant, that generates less smoke then other propellants.
In Flight - Mark I
The Type 43 Mark I Anti-Ship Missile's flight knows three stages: Launch, Cruise and Terminal.
Prior to launch, the Type 43 Anti-Ship Missile sits in its launcher, wings folded to save space, inert and waiting to be fed target designation data. This data can be fed from the launching vessel or aircraft or can come from a different source, for example a satellite, as well. This data is basically a general position of the enemy vessels, plus data about the radar profiles of the vessels in question.
Upon launch, the missile unfolds its fins and rises to an altitude somewhere between 10 and 15 metres above the surface, guided by the target data and an inertial guidance system towards the target area. This is the cruise phase.
Once the target area has been reached, the onboard radar begins its work, terminal stage has been reached. With the help of a radio altimeter and the radar itself, the missile descends onto a height of around three to four metres above the surface, locking onto the target using its active radar and the signature fed to the missile prior to launch – this is the stage, where it is most likely, that the Type 43 Anti-Ship Missile is detected by the targeted vessel or its escorts and countermeasures are the most likely to start. In the case of noise jamming, flooding the waves with nonsensical radar information and trying to confuse the missile, the Type 43 Anti-Ship Missile is equipped with an ingenious system turning the active radar to passive mode, which then lets the radar guide the missile to the source of the noise for a big, fiery hug.
Mark IV is equipped with an Infrared Homing Device for terminal guidance, locking onto the highest source of thermal energy in the area – for example enemy vessels. This quite easily circumvents the need for proofing the missile against electronic countermeasures or decoys, simply by not using a radar for guidance in the terminal stage.
Upon release and the beginning of production of the Type 40 Anti-Ship Missile in the early 2000s, the SDF-Navy became aware of one simple fact, that salted the soup of the missile, that was better then anything they had even remotely hoped for: It was bloody expensive.
Due to that, the SDF-Navy tasked the Creachadóir Design Bureau, by then already in talks with SDY to become part of SDY, with the development of a smaller anti-ship missile designed to attack smaller vessels with impunity and causing substantial damages to larger vessels.
The result, which was first tested a few days after the fateful Battle of Marley Bay in 2012, was the Type 43 Anti-Ship Missile. Final testing commenced a few weeks later, the first missiles being delivered to the SDF-Navy in late 2014.
From then onwards, the Type 43 Anti-Ship Missile was an integral part of the armament of SDF-Navy Vessels employed in the waters around the Mainland, the Northern Islands and the Oileánra-Archipelago – the first vessel to be sent out into international waters with an armament of Type 43 Anti-Ship Missiles, both Mark I and Mark II, was the Guided Missile Frigate SDFS Abhcan in the early summer of 2017, not firing a shot at any enemy.
In Autumn 2017, the Mark III version was officially introduced into the SDF-Navy with training operations beginning in October, with Mark IV following two months later.