Missile Will Equip WILDCAT and HIL
MBDA announced on 30 May that its SEA VENOM/ANL missile successfully completed its second development test in April, in a firing conducted from a PANTHER test helicopter belonging to the French defence procurement authority, the DGA.
The test highlighted the missile’s ‘lock on after launch’ capabilities and validated its aptitude for low-altitude, sea-skimming flight, the effectiveness of the data link between missile and helicopter and its autonomous guidance capability, using images from its infrared seeker.
SEA VENOM/ANL, part of an Anglo-French programme, possesses a ‘fire and forget’ mode along with ‘operator above the loop’ capability to maintain control over the entire missile trajectory. It has been designed for use from the widest range of platforms; in UK service from the AW159 WILDCAT helicopter, while France will operate the missile from its future Light Joint Helicopter (HIL). The missile is designed to enable the helicopters of both countries’ navies to deal with a range of threats including fast moving patrol boats, corvettes and coastal targets.
MBDA was awarded the production contract for SEA VENOM/ANL in March 2014. The joint programme is the first to take full advantage of mutual dependency arrangements agreed under the ‘One Complex Weapons’ initiative designed to consolidate the Anglo-French missile industry around MBDA.
“We have now tested a range of the missile’s capabilities and it has performed to the very edge of its operational envelope, which is testament to the hard work and skills of our development and production teams in conjunction with DGA. This is a significant milestone in the development of the missile and when it enters service SEA VENOM/ANL will provide a major increase in capability to the UK and French Navies,” observed the head of the programme at MBDA, Frank Bastart.