The French Navy has successfully carried out a test launch of the first block 3 variant of its Exocet MM40 anti-ship missile.

The navy said the missile was launched from the Horizon Class Chevalier Paul frigate from the Isle of Levant, off Toulon.

The Exocet block 3 is a surface-to-surface missile that features open ocean, littoral and coastal land attack capabilities with an extended range out to 180km.

The anti-ship missile incorporates stealth features and operates on the “fire and forget” principle, it can fly at 315m a second and carry warheads of up to 165kg.

In December 2008, the DGA awarded a contract to missile manufacturer MBDA to upgrade 45 block-2-version of the Exocet MM40 missiles into block 3.

Deliveries of all the upgraded missiles are scheduled for between December 2010 and June 2013.