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MdCN (Missile De Croisière Naval – Naval Cruise Missile)

MdCN (Missile De Croisière Naval - Naval Cruise Missile) is a long-range, sea-launched, surface attack, stand-off cruise missile being developed MBDA systems.


Long-range, sea-launched cruise missile




France Navy

Development Started




MdCN (Missile De Croisière Naval – naval cruise missile) is a long-range, sea-launched, surface attack, stand-off cruise missile being developed by MBDA systems. The MdCN is a naval variant of the air-launched Storm Shadow/ SCALP cruise missile. The missile is primarily intended for use by the French Navy.

The MdCN is launched by FREMM frigates using the compact A70 SYLVER vertical launcher, or the torpedo tubes when installed on Barracuda submarines.

MdCN missile development

The development of the MdCN missile was initiated by MBDA, with a development and production contract awarded by the French Director General Administration (DGA) in December 2006.

The detailed design review of the MdCN missile was finalised in 2008. The general architecture of the missile and mission planning were also completed during the period. The MdCN platform interfaces (surface vessel vertical launch and submarine torpedo-tube launch) were authenticated in the same year.

“The naval version of SCALP missile MdCN is designed to meet the French Navy’s special requirements to strike off-shore targets including military and economic infrastructures.”

The aerodynamic trials of the MdCN missile were completed at ONERA’s wind tunnel facility in October 2008, and first test firing of the missile was successfully carried out in May 2010.

The first submarine launch of the MdCN missile was carried out by the French DGA in June 2011. The results of the test helped to authenticate the MdCN in its submarine configuration. The test also helped validate the missile’s commonality concept for the two types of launch platform.

The first full firing of the MdCN missile was completed at the ‘DGA Essais de missiles’ test centre in Biscarosse from a frigate in July 2012. The first end to end firing of the missile in its submarine configuration was achieved in October 2012. This test helped to validate the GPS guidance mode of the missile in the terminal phase.

In July 2013, the DGA conducted the first qualification firing of the MdCN missile. It was fired by a A70 vertical launch system at Biscarrosse missile test centre simulating the launch from the frigate.

MdCN design features

The naval version of the SCALP missile MdCN is designed to meet the French Navy’s special requirements to strike off-shore targets including military and economic infrastructures.

The MdCN missile is designed to be stored in ships and submarines for a long term. The missile is equipped with an acceleration and tilt system. It is also installed with a device change of medium (DCM) for the compatibility on Barracuda nuclear powered attack submarines. The MdCN is fitted with an ammunition container vertical shooting (CTV) for the FREMM frigates.

The MdCN missile has a weight of approximately 1,400kg. It has an overall length of 6.50m, and a diameter of 0.5m. The missile has a range of more than 250km.

The missile is equipped with an optimised single charge warhead. The missile will be able to carry compact loads deep into high value enemy targets. It can neutralise or destroy weak and moderately hardened targets.

“The missile will be able to carry compact loads deep into high value enemy targets.”

MdCN variants

The MdCN missile is being developed in two specifications to meet the requirements of the French Navy. The first variant is a vertically launched missile intended for FREMM class frigate. The second one is developed to be an underwater-launched variant for the Barracuda nuclear-powered attack submarines.

A sea to air transition capsule is configured in the submarine-launched version of the MdCN. The submarine version is installed with a container, which completely surrounds the missile and its booster, allowing it to be ejected through an immersed submarine’s torpedo tubes.

Both the variants of the MdCN use the same missile and the same ejectable booster.

MdCN orders and deliveries

The MBDA was awarded a contract by the French DGA for the procurement of 250 MdCN naval missiles in December 2006. These missiles are intended to be installed on the French Navy’s FREMM frigates and nuclear-powered Barracuda submarines.

The MdCN missile is designed for multi-mission frigates (FREMM) and is expected to be delivered to the French Navy in 2014. The MdCN missiles for Barracuda submarines are scheduled to be delivered in 2017.

MdCN navigation system

The MdCN missile is installed with a navigation suite which includes an inertial measurement unit (IMU), altimeter and GPS. The navigation suite allows the missile to fly towards the target in a strategic direction.

The IR homing head detects and identifies the target. The missile has the capability to change its direction and altitude during its course of flight. It can fly through low altitudes and attitudes before striking the enemy targets.

Propulsion system of MdCN

The MdCN missile is powered by a simple flow micro-turbo TR50 turbojet engine. The propulsion system gives a unique feature of high endurance, which is essential to achieve very long range.

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