The firing took place on the site of the DGA Testing and Expertise Center Missile Tests, off the Ile du Levant (Var), from a test helicopter belonging to DGA Flight Tests.
After the first successful qualification firing in February 2020, this second firing is a new success for the ANL / Sea Venom program, which is progressing according to schedule despite the pandemic health context of Covid-19 which is particularly restrictive for the teams.
It paves the way for a future operational capability of this missile on the Wildcat helicopters of the Royal Navy, as well as on the future Cheetah helicopters of the French Navy.
Carried out from a specially instrumented DGA helicopter, this test involved teams from DGA Missile Tests and DGA Flight Tests centers of expertise and test. Its object was to fire at long range in the direction of two maritime targets, one of them simulating a warship, with the missile flying at very low altitude and hitting the target at the end of the course (LOAL mode: “Lock On After Launch”).
It has once again successfully implemented the innovative capability of modifying the firing target after the missile has been fired, made possible by the two-way data link permanently maintained between the helicopter and the missile: the pilot has was able to select -- as expected – the real target between the two potential targets available, and to choose the point of impact, during the flight of the missile.
Succès du 2nd tir de qualification du #missile FR-UK anti-navire léger #ANL/Sea Venom réalisé par les équipes de la DGA et de MBDA, le tir a eu lieu sur le site de DGA Essais de missiles, au large de l’île du Levant, à partir d’un #hélicoptère banc d’essai de DGA Essais en vol. https://t.co/jCZMwtIILv pic.twitter.com/NmYOKmXm0a— Direction générale de l'armement (@DGA) November 26, 2020
A major Franco-British cooperation program, the ANL / Sea Venom was launched in 2014, in accordance with the commitments made in the Lancaster House bilateral treaty of 2010.
Intended to equip the Wildcat helicopters of the Royal Navy and future Guépard (Cheetah) helicopters of the French Navy, the ANL / Sea Venom missile will make it possible to engage a wide range of fast and maneuvering surface threats, from speedboats to corvettes, including in coastal environments. It also has a "fire and forget" mode where the missile guides itself autonomously towards the target, as well as the "man in the loop" ability to control fire until impact.
Under the Lancaster House Treaty, signed in November 2010, France and the United Kingdom maintain a dense portfolio of cooperative programs, foremost among which future anti-ship / cruise missiles (FMAN / FMC) and drone systems submarines and surface dedicated to the mine warfare of the future (Maritime Mine Counter Measures).
The contract for the ANL / Sea Venom program was awarded to manufacturer MBDA in March 2014 by DE&S (Defense Equipment and Support), the British counterpart of the DGA for the management of armament programs.
ANL / Sea Venom is the first joint program to take full advantage of the mutual dependency arrangements agreed under the "One Complex Weapons" initiative, aimed at consolidating the Franco-British missile industry around MBDA.