Successful Second Test Firing Qualifies Anti-Navires Léger (ANL) Missile
(Source: French Ministry of the Armed Forces; issued Nov. 26, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by
The Anti-Navires Léger / Sea Venom anti-ship missile nears its target during the second qualification firing in Southern France, during which the weapon demonstrated its Lock-On After Launch (LOAL) capability. (DGA photo)
The second qualification firing of the ANL / Sean Venom missile was carried out successfully on November 17, 2020 by teams from the Directorate General for Armaments (DGA) and the MBDA company on behalf of France and the United Kingdom.

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.

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.


MBDA Completes Qualification Firing Trials of the Sea Venom/ANL Missile
(Source: MBDA; issued Nov. 26, 2020)
The Sea Venom/ANL anti-ship missile has completed its qualification firings trials, with a successful final firing at the French Armament General Directorate (DGA) test site at Ile du Levant on 17 November.

Soon to start equipping the Royal Navy's AW159 Wildcat and Marine nationale's H160M Guépard shipborne helicopters, the Sea Venom/ANL anti-ship missile is a co-operation project developed under the Lancaster House treaty between France and the United Kingdom. The Sea Venom/ANL missile is the first programme to take full advantage of the cross-border centres of excellence on missile technologies launched by the Lancaster House treaty, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary this month.

The final qualification trial tested the missile's advanced target discrimination within a complex and cluttered naval scenario.

Éric Béranger, MBDA CEO, said: "I want to congratulate the UK-French teams across both MBDA and our governments for the commitment they have shown in meeting this qualification milestone amid the disruption caused by Covid-19. Together they have proven that through co-operation we can jointly overcome adversity and deliver leading edge military capabilities."

Previous trials have tested the missiles launch envelope, release envelope and engagement modes, such as its low-altitude sea-skimming flight, lock on after launch (LOAL), lock on before launch (LOBL), operator-in-the-loop, and aimpoint refinement.

Background notes:

The Centres of Excellence (CofEx) within MBDA are unique initiative in Europe and secure both nations' long-term access to technologies that are critical for both nation's sovereignty and the freedom of action of their armed forces. The French and British parliaments ratified an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) in 2016 to launch the CofEx.

The CofEx have created efficiencies and resilience in the UK/France Complex Weapons (CW) sector, one of the aims of the Lancaster House Treaty of November 2010. By sharing technological capabilities and capacity between MBDA-UK and MBDA-France the CofEx have delivered on their objectives of driving greater industrial efficiency and cost savings for both nations.

MBDA is the only European group capable of designing and producing missiles and missile systems that correspond to the full range of current and future operational needs of the three armed forces (land, sea and air).

With a significant presence in five European countries and within the USA, in 2018 MBDA achieved revenue of 3.2 billion euros with an order book of 17.4 billion euros. With more than 90 armed forces customers in the world, MBDA is a world leader in missiles and missile systems. MBDA is jointly owned by Airbus (37.5 %), BAE Systems (37.5 %), and Leonardo (25 %).


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