MBDA has successfully completed the first qualification firing of its Sea Venom / Anti-Navire Léger (ANL) anti-ship missile at the Île du Levant test range in south-east France.

The 120kg new generation medium-range missile has been designed to offer an enhanced maritime strike capability under the Anglo-French co-operation programme.

It will replace several existing and ageing anti-ship missile systems, such as the UK-developed Sea Skua missile and the French-developed AS15TT missile.

The missile will serve as the principal anti-ship weapon for the UK’s AW159 Wildcat, while France’s Marine Nationale has plans to integrate it on the future Guépard Light Joint Helicopter (HIL – Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger).

The qualification test firing of Sea Venom / ANL was carried out from a Dauphin helicopter.

During testing, the missile flew at a very low sea-skimming altitude and transmitted images to aircrew from its infrared seeker via the data link. This allowed the operator to manually select a precise aim point.

Sea Venom / ANL successfully destroyed the target ‘with a very high degree of accuracy’.

MBDA CEO Éric Béranger said: “Sea Venom/ANL is the first Anglo-French co-operation programme to take full advantage of our centres of excellence, created following an Inter-Governmental Agreement ratified by both nations’ Parliaments in 2016.

“MBDA is putting full effort into the successful implementation of the Sea Venom/ANL programme, recognising it should exemplify the benefits of the close co-operation UK and France are sharing in defence, enhancing both nation’s sovereign capabilities in armaments while reducing costs.”

Sea Venom/ANL already demonstrated its lock-on after launch (LOAL) and lock-on before launch (LOBL) capabilities during its previous firing trials.

The 2.5m-long missile features 30kg anti-ship warhead and can travel at high subsonic speed.

The missile will enable the helicopters to address a wide range of targets from small craft to larger warships at sea or in port.

MBDA was awarded the development contract for the Sea Venom / ANL missile in March 2014.