Sea Venom/ANL missile demonstrates sea skimming skills in Panther helicopter launch

Photo: MBDA

French missile manufacturer MBDA recently carried out a second development firing of its Sea Venom/ANL missile using a French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA – Direction Générale de l’Armement) Panther test helicopter for launch at Ile Du Levant in southeast France.

The firing took place on April 18 and highlighted Sea Venom/ANL’s lock on after launch (LOAL) capabilities, MBDA said.

The test also validated the missile’s aptitude for low-altitude, sea-skimming flight, the effectiveness of the data link between the missile and helicopter and Sea Venom/ANL’s autonomous guidance capability, using images from its infrared seeker.

“Sea Venom is yet another weapon that will help our Royal Navy keep the United Kingdom safe amid intensifying global threats. The lightweight subsonic sea-skimming missile, which will equip our Wildcat helicopters, will add to our Navy’s impressive capabilities while at sea and ensure they remain equipped to face every eventuality,” Guto Bebb, UK Minister for Defence Procurement, said.

“The test firing partnership between France and the United Kingdom is also another fantastic display of the two nations working together to protect global waters.”

“We’re delighted that the second development firing of Sea Venom/ANL was a complete success. 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,” Frank Bastart, head of the Sea Venom/ANL programme at MBDA said.

Sea Venom/ANL is part of an Anglo-French program linked to the Lancaster House treaty agreed between the UK and France in November 2010.

The missile 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 the missile will be used from the AW159 Wildcat helicopter, while France will operate the missile from its future Light Joint Helicopter (HIL – Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger). 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 program 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.

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