MBDA successfully fires Anglo-French anti-ship missile from a DAUPHIN test bed helicopter
In June, MBDA conducted the first firing of its SEA VENOM/ANL 100kg-class anti-ship missile from a Dauphin test bed helicopter, owned by the DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement – the French defence procurement agency), at the Île du Levant test range in France.
Intended to deliver an enhanced capability and replace existing systems such as the UK-developed SEA SKUA and the French-developed AS15TT anti-ship missiles, the SEA VENOM/ANL was ordered in 2014 and has been developed 50/50 between the UK and France.
Frank Bastart, Head of the SEA VENOM/ANL programme at MBDA, said: “The missile trial was a complete success, and is a proud moment for the company and all those involved in the project. When it enters service Sea Venom/ANL will provide a major increase in capability to the French and UK armed forces.”
The first firing was a major milestone for the Anglo-French missile, which has played a key part in the creation of shared centres of excellence on missiles technologies in both countries. “Although a first firing this was in no way a cautious one. The system was pushed to the very edge of its range capability – a bold step showing our confidence in the design maturity and making success all the more sweet. The next step is to exercise the systems’ operator-in-the-loop capabilities,” said Paul Goodwin, Deputy Head of the SEA VENOM project.
Although the UK is planning to use the SEA VENOM/ANL from the AW159 Wildcat helicopter, and France will be operating it from its new Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger (HIL), the missile has been designed for use from a wide range of platforms. Air carriage trials having been conducted to demonstrate compatibility of the missile on legacy LYNX helicopters.
Dr. Alix Valenti