Sea Venom demonstrates lock on before launch capability in third test firing

French missile developer MBDA announced that the Anglo-French Sea Venom-ANL anti-ship missile recently completed another firing trial, bringing the missile program a step closer to production.

The latest firing builds on previous two from July 2017 and May 2018.

Conducted on November 14 from a French Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) Dauphin test helicopter at the DGA Missile testing range of Ile du Levant, the trial was the final development firing for the missile prior to the start of qualification trials in 2019.

This latest trial demonstrated Sea Venom-ANL’s lock on before launch (LOBL) capabilities, with images from the missile’s infrared seeker being used by the operator to designate the target prior to launch.

Frank Bastart, MBDA’s head of the Sea Venom-ANL program, said: “This latest successful trial is a great milestone for the programme, which will provide a major increase in the naval strike capabilities of our armed forces. Throughout the trials campaign we have continued to push the system and its operating modes to its limits. The success of these tests is testament to the unrivalled performance of the Sea Venom-ANL missile.”

Sea Venom-ANL will be used on the UK Royal Navy’s AW159 Wildcat and French Navy future HIL (Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger) helicopters. This 120 kg sea-skimming missile is designed to enable navies to deal with a range of threats including fast moving patrol boats, corvettes and coastal targets.

The missile is capable of being fired in both lock on before launch (LOBL) and lock on after launch (LOAL) modes, with a two way datalink and imaging seeker giving the operator the ability to monitor the engagement, perform aim point refinement, select a new target, or abort the mission if necessary.

The missile is being developed under a joint Anglo-French program launched at the 2010 Lancaster House Summit, that is the first to take full advantage of consolidated centers of excellence created within the Anglo-French missile industry under the ‘One Complex Weapons’ initiative.

Photo: Photo: MBDA