MBDA has successfully completed the second development firing of its Sea Venom / Anti-Navire Léger (ANL) anti-ship missile at the Île du Levant test range in south-east France.
The 100kg-class Anglo-French missile has been designed to offer an improved capability and replace several existing and aging anti-ship missile systems, including the UK-built Sea Skua missile and the French-developed AS15TT anti-ship missile.
The test firing of the Sea Venom / ANL system was conducted from a Panther test helicopter owned by the French defence procurement agency, Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA).
It successfully demonstrated the missile’s lock on after launch (LOAL) capabilities, in addition to validating its aptitude for low-altitude, sea-skimming flight.
In addition, the firing displayed the effectiveness of the data link between the missile and helicopter, as well as Sea Venom / ANL’s autonomous guidance capability using images from its infrared seeker.
UK Defence Procurement Minister Guto Bebb said: “Sea Venom is yet another weapon that will help our Royal Navy keep the UK safe amid intensifying global threats.
“The lightweight, subsonic sea-skimming missile, which will equip our Wildcat helicopters, will add to our navy’s impressive capabilities while at sea and ensure they remain equipped to face every eventuality.
“The test firing partnership between France and the UK is also another fantastic display of the two nations working together to protect global waters.”
Sea Venom / ANL missiles have been designed to enhance the capabilities of the UK and French navies and feature a ‘fire and forget’ mode, in addition to an ‘operator above the loop’ ability to maintain control over the entire missile trajectory.
The Royal Navy will equip the missile system on-board the AW159 Wildcat helicopter, while the French Navy is expected to install it on-board the future light joint helicopter, Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger (HIL).
The missile will enable the helicopters to address a wide range of threats such as fast-moving patrol boats, corvettes and coastal targets.
MBDA was awarded the development contract for the Sea Venom / ANL missile jointly
France and the UK jointly awarded MBDA the development contract for the Sea Venom / ANL missile in March 2014.
The first firing of the missile was conducted from a Dauphin test bed helicopter in June last year.