MBDA Completes Final Development Firing of Sea Venom/ANL Anti-Ship Missile from DGA Panther Test Helicopter

MBDA’s Sea Venom/ANL anti-ship missile has successfully completed its third and final development firing from a French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA – Direction Générale de l’Armement) Dauphin test helicopter, in the Mediterranean.

The test was conducted on Nov. 14 at the DGA Missile testing range of Île du Levant, a French island in the Mediterranean off the coast of the Riviera, near Toulon. The trial was the final development firing for the missile prior to the start of qualification trials in 2019.

Final developmental firing of MBDA’s Sea Venom-ANL anti-ship missile
MBDA’s Sea Venom-ANL anti-ship missile closing in on the target during its third/final developmental firing test conducted in the Mediterranean, on Nov. 14, 2018. MBDA Photo.

This latest trial highlighted Sea Venom-ANL’s lock on before launch (LOBL) capabilities, with images from the missile’s infrared seeker being used by the operator to designate the target prior to launch.

Frank Bastart, MBDA’s head of the Sea Venom-ANL programme, said: “This latest successful trial is a great milestone for the programme, which will provide a major increase in the naval strike capabilities of our armed forces. Throughout the trials campaign we have continued to push the system and its operating modes to its limits. The success of these tests is testament to the unrivalled performance of the Sea Venom-ANL missile.”

Sea Venom/ANL is part of an Anglo-French programme linked to the Lancaster House treaty agreed between the UK and France in November 2010 and possesses a ‘fire and forget’ mode along with ‘operator above the loop’ capability to maintain control over the entire missile trajectory.

The anti-ship missile was developed to deliver an enhanced capability and replace existing and legacy systems such as the UK-developed Sea Skua and the French-developed AS15TT anti-ship missiles.

The missile has been designed for use from the widest range of platforms; in UK service the missile will be used from the AW159 Wildcat helicopter, while France will operate the missile from its future Light Joint Helicopter (HIL – Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger).

This 120 kg sea-skimming missile is designed to enable navies to deal with a range of threats including fast moving patrol boats, corvettes and coastal targets. The missile is capable of being fired in both lock on before launch (LOBL) and lock on after launch (LOAL) modes, with a two way datalink and imaging seeker giving the operator the ability to monitor the engagement, perform aim point refinement, select a new target, or abort the mission if necessary.

MBDA was awarded the production contract for Sea Venom/ANL in March 2014. The joint programme is the first to take full advantage of mutual dependency arrangements agreed under the ‘One Complex Weapons’ initiative designed to consolidate the Anglo-French missile industry around MBDA.

The missile had completed its first firing at the Île du Levant test range in France last year. The second development firing took place at Ile Du Levant in southeast France earlier this year.

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