PARIS — France successfully fired on June 21 for the first time the anti-navire léger, also dubbed Sea Venom, a helicopter-borne anti-ship missile, the French armed forces ministry said.
France and Britain are developing and building the ANL/Sea Venom in a bilateral program under the Lancaster house defense cooperation treaty.
This was the first development firing of the ANL on the Mediterranean missile test center of the Direction Générale de l'Armement, the French armed forces ministry said in a July 4 statement. The missile, which can operate in fire-and-forget mode and also with an operator in the loop, was fired from a Panther test bed helicopter flown by the DGA.
The missile will replace the British Sea Skua and French AS15TT anti-ship weapons, and is due to be fitted on the Royal Navy's AW159 Wildcat and the French Navy's Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger, MBDA said in a statement.
The HIL is a joint services light helicopter based on the H160, a commercial helicopter built by Airbus Helicopter.
The missile has been designed to be fitted on the widest range of helicopters, with air carriage trials conducted on legacy Lynx helicopters, MBDA said. The weapon is in the 100 kg-class of missiles and is planned to be fired on vessels spanning fast attack craft to corvettes. The missile can also be used against coastal land targets.
The missile is being developed and built under the One Complex Weapon program, based on the principle of mutual interdependence and aiming to restructure the Anglo-French missile industry around MBDA, the French ministry said.
"When it enters service Sea Venom/ANL will provide a major increase in capability to the French and UK armed forces," Frank Bastart, head of the Sea Venom/ANL program at MBDA, said in a statement.