Air-Launched Weapons

MBDA studies Sea Venom for surface-launched coastal defence role

08 March 2018
MBDA is evaluating the application of the Sea Venom/ANL drop-launched anti-ship missile in a surface-launched coastal defence role. Source: MBDA

MBDA has launched an internal study to evaluate the application of its Sea Venom/Anti-Navire Léger (ANL) lightweight medium-range anti-ship missile in a surface-launched role, as part of a networked multilayered coastal defence solution.

Co-funded by the governments of France and the United Kingdom, Sea Venom/ANL is a 100 kg drop-launch high-subsonic sea-skimming effector developed by MBDA to meet the joint requirements of the UK Royal Navy (RN) and French Navy for a future shipborne helicopter-launched anti-ship missile. In RN service, Sea Venom is mandated under the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (Heavy) requirement to equip the Wildcat HMA2 helicopter, and will replace the capability previously delivered by Sea Skua anti-ship missile; in French Navy service the missile will equip the Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger (HIL – Joint Light Helicopter) rotary-wing platform.

Sea Venom/ANL incorporates an imaging infrared (IIR) seeker (with space and weight provisions for an additional semi-active laser [SAL] guidance channel), advanced inertial navigation guidance, a high-speed two-way datalink for operator-in-the-loop control, and a 30 kg-class semi-armour-piercing blast/fragmentation warhead. SAL guidance, if enabled, would allow for the engagement of targets outside the line of sight in concert with third-party laser designation. “The system is based on an innovative ‘fly-above-the-loop’ concept: using its advanced artificial intelligence capability the missile is able to fly a fully autonomous 'fire and forget' profile, while enabling operator interface for actions such [as] in-flight re-targeting, aimpoint correction and refinement, and safe abort,” an MBDA spokesperson told Jane’s. Powered by a boost/sustain propulsion package - a fixed boost motor aft (derived from the Brimstone motor) and a mid-body rocket sustainer, Sea Venom/ANL has a given maximum range of "over 20 km."

“Sea Venom has been designed primarily to be drop-launched from air platforms,” Christophe Leduc, product executive, Naval Defence Systems, MBDA told Jane’s .

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