European missile house MBDA, in collaboration with the French Direction générale de l'armement (DGA), has conducted the first powered-flight test of the new Anglo-French Sea Venom/Anti-Navire Léger (ANL) helicopter-launched anti-ship missile.
Performed on 21 June at the DGA Essais de Missiles centre at the Île du Levant in the Mediterranean, the test was the first of a series of Sea Venom/ANL qualification flights.
Sea Venom/ANL is a 110 kg-class high-subsonic, drop-launch sea-skimming missile incorporating an imaging infrared (IIR) seeker (with space and weight provisions for an additional semi-active laser [SAL] guidance channel), a two-way datalink for operator-in-the-loop control, and a 30 kg semi-armour-piercing blast/fragmentation warhead. Powered by a boost/sustain propulsion package - a fixed boost motor aft (derived from the Brimstone motor) and a mid-body rocket sustainer - the missile is credited with a maximum range in excess of 20 km.
While the missile will be capable of flying a fully autonomous 'fire and forget' profile, operator-in-the-loop control will enable capabilities such as in-flight re-targeting, aimpoint correction/refinement, and safe abort. SAL guidance, if enabled, would allow for the engagement of targets outside the line of sight in concert with third-party laser designation.
The first firing, from an Airbus Helicopters AS365 Dauphin (F-ZAGG) test platform operated by the DGA, saw the missile fly to the edge of its maximum range. The test did not involve target acquisition or activation of the IIR terminal seeker.
"The firing was performed at medium altitude and was aimed at checking the propulsion system, mid-course guidance, and missile aerodynamic control," an MBDA spokesperson told Jane's . The release altitude and exact range achieved were not disclosed.
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