French missile technology specialist MBDA has carried out the first qualification firing trial of the Sea Venom/ANL anti-ship missile that will be used by France and the UK.
The test, which took place at the DGA Essais de missiles (DGA EM) test site at Ile Du Levant on February 20, was carried out from a French Dauphin helicopter.
The missile was launched from the helicopter close to the minimum release height, reaching its cruise phase whilst sea skimming at very low height, according to MBDA.
During its terminal phase, the aircrew used images from the infrared seeker – transmitted through the datalink – to perform a manual aim point refinement. The missile then followed this designated point until hitting the target with a very high degree of accuracy.
This latest firing builds on two previous ones that have all tested the missile to the very edge of its capability.
The previous firings demonstrated Sea Venom/ANL’s lock on after launch (LOAL) and lock on before launch (LOBL) capabilities. They also validated its low-altitude sea-skimming flight and its autonomous guidance capability using images from its uncooled imaging infrared (IIR) seeker.
Sea Venom/ANL is a purpose-built anti-ship missile for the French and UK navies’ shipborne helicopters, and is suitable for a wide range of platforms.
MBDA says the the missile will safely engage hostile vessels amongst civilian assets, even in congested littoral environments and will defeat a broad spectrum of targets including small fast-moving craft through to larger ships – at sea or in port – as well as coastal land targets.
“Sea Venom/ANL is the first Anglo-French co-operation programme to take full advantage of our centers of excellence, created following an inter-governmental agreement ratified by both nations’ parliaments in 2016,” Éric Béranger, MBDA CEO, said.
The UK Royal Navy will use Sea Venom/ANL on its AW159 Wildcat, replacing Sea Skua, while France’s Marine Nationale will operate the missile from its future Cheetah Light Joint Helicopter (HIL – Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger).