At approximately 9.45 a.m. (GMT) on Thursday, 14th June 2007, the latest Mod2 development of MBDA’s Exocet AM39 Block2 air-launched anti-ship missile successfully completed its final validation firing.
The test firing took place at the DGA’s Ile du Levant CELM missile launch test centre (situated off the French Mediterranean coast). Exocet AM39 Block2 Mod2 was released from a naval Rafale F3 combat aircraft one hour after its catapult take-off from the French aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle.
Release from the Rafale F3 took place at high altitude (27,000 ft) and approximately 50km from the intended target. The missile dived at supersonic speed to its planned very low altitude where, one minute after release, its cruise propulsion system took over and Exocet adopted its autonomous sea-skimming trajectory. During its final approach phase, the missile carried out first an angular and then other evasive penetrative manoeuvres. After less than three minutes of flight, the Exocet AM39 Block2 Mod2 successfully impacted against the target.
This firing marked the final development firing of the latest generation of Exocet anti-ship missiles (MM40 Block3 and AM39 Block2 Mod2). It also served as the validation firing for the Rafale in its F3 standard.
The Mod2 evolution has resulted in the digitisation of Exocet AM39 Block2, an adaptation called for by the requirements of the latest generation of rotary and fixed wing aircraft (such as the Rafale F3).
Patrick Tramier, MBDA Programmes Director, said: “Exocet forms the core heavy anti-ship weapon for many of the world’s armed forces. With the operational requirements of customers constantly evolving, we have made sure that a new generation of Exocets will continue to provide the unmatched capabilities expected of this world-renowned missile system”.
- Exocet is a complete family of all-weather heavy anti-ship missiles available as AM39 for helicopters and fixed wing maritime patrol and fighter aircraft, MM40 for ships and coastal batteries and SM39 for submarines. Since entering service in 1972, well over 3,000 Exocet missiles, in all configurations, have been sold.
- Exocet AM39 is in service with the French Navy and the armed forces of 11 other countries. In January 2004, the French DGA (Délégation Générale pour l’Armement) awarded MBDA with the contract covering the development of both the AM39 Block2 Mod2 and the MM40 Block3.
- With an annual turnover exceeding EUR 3 billion, a forward order book of over EUR 13 billion and over 70 customers world wide MBDA is a world leading, global missile systems company. MBDA currently has 45 missile system and countermeasure programmes in operational service and has proven its ability as prime contractor to head major multi-national projects.
MBDA is jointly owned by BAE Systems (37.5%), EADS (37.5 %) and Finmeccanica (25 %).