Air-Launched Weapons

Pakistan Navy test-fires anti-ship missile from Sea King helo

27 September 2017
The PN successfully test-fired what appears to have been an Exocet AM39 ASM from one of its Sea King helicopters on 23 September. Source: Pakistan Navy

The Pakistan Navy (PN) successfully test-fired an anti-ship missile (ASM) from one of its Sea King helicopters on 23 September. The missile “hit the intended target with pinpoint accuracy, reaffirming [the] weapon’s lethality and the offensive punch of the PN fleet”, said the service in a statement.

The live-fire test, which took place in the Arabian Sea, was part of a series of exercises conducted by the PN in the area.

The statement did not provide further details about the missile, but images of the test-firing show the helicopter releasing what appears to have been an MBDA Exocet AM39 radar-guided ASM, which is known to be in service with the PN. However, it is unclear which variant of the missile was fired.

The event took place approximately four months after the PN received seven surplus Sea King platforms from the United Kingdom. The service acquired the helicopters under an intergovernmental contract signed in 2016 that envisages four of the aircraft being used for spares.

Jane’s reported in July that two HC4s had already been completely stripped of parts, while the other two platforms – an HC4 and an HAR 3A that would also be used for spares – would be kept intact for shipment to Karachi, Pakistan.

The remaining three helicopters were expected to be flying again in early September. The platforms include a Royal Air Force Westland (now Leonardo Helicopters) Sea King HAR3A and two Royal Marine HC4 ‘Junglies’. The official induction ceremony is expected to take place at Pakistan Naval Station (PNS) Mehran in early December.

The PN’s 111 Squadron at PNS Mehran already operates six Westland Sea King Mk45/45As in service since 1976. In recent years, the legacy aircraft have been upgraded with Seaspray 5300 radars to significantly increase their capabilities.

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