Some days before, MBDA teams made last firing trial of the Sea Venom anti-ship missile. Test was conducted at DGA testing site, on Levant Island.
Sea Venom missile qualified
The final test was conducted on November 17, with the goal to check target discrimination, in a complex naval environment. 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.
First tests on Lynx helicopter
First tests were made in 2017, on Royal Navy Lynx Mk 8 helicopter. In April 2018, a test was conducted from Airbus Panther helicopter, with the missile flying at very low altitude and hitting the target in mid-race. Ministry of Armed Forces said this test demonstrated missile’s capability to navigate at sea-skiming, and the proper functioning of the data link between the missile and the helicopter. At the end of 2018, another test confirmed « lock on before launch (LOBL) capabilities of Sea Venom, with images from the missile’s infrared seeker being used by the operator to designate the target prior to launch. » as reported MBDA. Test was conducted from a Directorate General of Armament (DGA) Dauphin test helicopter at the DGA Missile testing range of Levant Island.
First firing trial last February
First firing trial at the testing range of DGA’s testing range of Levant Island was made in February 2020. « The missile was launched from a DGA Dauphin helicopter close to the minimum release height, reaching its cruise phase whilst sea skimming at very low height. During its terminal phase, the aircrew used images from the infrared seeker – transmitted through the datalink – to perform a successful manual aim point refinement. The missile has then followed this designated point until hitting the target with a very high degree of accuracy. » said MBDA.
Anti-ship missile Sea Venom will be used of Wildcat AW159 helicopters of Royal Navy and H160M Guépard of French Navy, and is a French/UK cooperation program, in accordance with Lancaster House bilateral treaty of 2010. Sea Venom missile is the the first program who benefit of French/UK centers specialised on missile technologies created due to Lancaster house agreement.