MBDA’s Sea Venom-ANL anti-ship missile has successfully conducted a further firing trial, passing a significant new milestone for the programme.

Conducted late last year from a Dauphin test helicopter at the DGA Missile testing range of Ile du Levant, the trial was the final development firing for the missile prior to the start of qualification trials in 2019 say MBDA.

“This latest trial highlighted Sea Venom-ANL’s lock on before launch capabilities, with images from the missile’s infrared seeker being used by the operator to designate the target prior to launch.”

Frank Bastart, MBDA’s head of the Sea Venom-ANL programme, said:

This latest successful trial is a great milestone for the programme, which will provide a major increase in the naval strike capabilities of our armed forces. Throughout the trials campaign we have continued to push the system and its operating modes to its limits. The success of these tests is testament to the unrivalled performance of the Sea Venom-ANL missile.”

Sea Venom-ANL is capable of being launched from a wide range of platforms, and will be used on the Royal Navy’s AW159 Wildcat and French Navy future helicopters.

According to the company:

“This 120 kg sea-skimming missile is designed to enable navies to deal with a range of threats including fast moving patrol boats, corvettes and coastal targets. The missile is capable of being fired in both lock on before launch (LOBL) and lock on after launch (LOAL) modes, with a two way datalink and imaging seeker giving the operator the ability to monitor the engagement, perform aim point refinement, select a new target, or abort the mission if necessary.”

The missile is being developed under a unique joint programme launched at the 2010 Lancaster House Summit, that is the first to take full advantage of consolidated centres of excellence created within the Anglo-French missile industry under the ‘One Complex Weapons’ initiative.

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John Clark

So far, so good. I doubt we will see many new Anglo French projects though, as we are both heading in different directions and forming competing camps. Sad really, the British and French have a potentially very capable combined R & D and manufacturing capacity, but wider political influences in both countries will likely mean an end will be placed on further cooperation. I know we’ve been screwed over by them in the past, but that’s unfortunately due to the ever present political influence. Just sad that Europe’s two main military powers won’t be able to collaborate on an industrial… Read more »

Glenn Ridsdale

Actually, a lot of it has been down to Dassault and other French industrial interests.


Not really MBDA has been reorganised into centres of excellence making the UK and France mutuality dependant on each other.The new French antitank missiles has British bits on it for instance and future requirements will inevitably force co-operation regardless of Brexit.


It’s about time. I see France wanted to replace the mica missile and they are still looking a French only version rather than work on an improve asraam which I believe work is currently underway on as part of the caam development.


They wanted to keep the same airframe to avoid integration work,the new block VI asraam is a WVR missile only but MICA has a BVR variant as well so not really comparible.

John Clark

We will see … I personally think the Franco German shift will kill off any new projects, with only the ongoing ones moving forward for the next 10 years.

Don’t overlook the EU’s insular view of the world.

Evan P

Hopefully this paves the way for a successful FC-ASW programme; it sounds like the strategy used for Sea Venom has been quite effective.


Any reason why Merlin has not been included to carry this missile?

Steve Taylor

That will be down to the the ‘higher ups’ being cleverer with greater understanding than mere silly tax payer…….>taps nose< The USN purchased Penguin after the Gulf War because they saw how useful Sea Skua was in action. During GW USN Seahawks with radar were cuing targets for radarless Lynx with Sea Skua. (Multiple Lynx were flying off T42's smallish flightdeck positioned well up threat.) Move forward a few years and the UK replaces Lynx (partially) with large helicopter with superb radar and then doesn't bother procuring a missile with it…….Compare with the Italians who purchased MARTE Sea Killer for… Read more »


Lynx has Sea Spray radar. Skua doesn’t work without it. The issue is that it was not at that time a 360 radar so you had to keep the helo pointing at the target to light it up for the missile to home. All T42 and T22 had Lynx and Skua in the Gulf and it was very effective at killing Corvette/Patrol boat sized targets. Skua was remarkably lightweight. A lynx can carry 4. The missile comes in its own wheeled handling and stowage frame and is basicly a no test weapon. You take it out of the mag and… Read more »


Well it’s not going as well as this claims as delivery has been delayed 12 month’s for technical reasons.

John Hampson

Does anybody know how the work share is split. The French have consistently demanded the overwhelming majority R+D and production but expect their partners to pay the bulk of the costs. The Rafale was born because the other Eurofighter partners would not submit to French demands. If these Anglo French “partnerships” are such one sided affairs, what is the point of subsiding French industry?


Happy new year to all. We previous post : during the Gulf war Sea Hawks queuing radarless Lynx. I think not. Sea Skua was linked directly to the lynx Sea Spray radar, it could not be fired without it. All RN Lynx Sea Skua engagements were targeted, directed and launched from individual Lynx’s eith operational radar. Our American friends did supply surface search information just as any other asset. A small point but important to maintain accurate historical accounts. Re Merlin and asm, no plans, The aircraft are configured for primary ASW role, additional looming, fire controllers, hard point arrangements… Read more »


Why has this been developed? A 99kg CAMM does the same range but at mach 3 instead of mach 1 and with a 10kg warhead instead of 30kg. Could a surface version of CAMM be developed with less fuel, a smaller motor and a larger warhead inside the same body? It would have the same Sea and Land Ceptor VLS features and integration with Typhoon and Type 23 etc is all complete. Isn’t it supposed to be a Modular missile?

Gavin Gordon

I suspect for greater discrimination in heavily populated littoral waters.

Cam Hunter

A heavy weight sea venom would be great.


Couldn’t a Venom be launched from a ship if its loaded in a canister? It would make a useful addition to any patrol boat eg River class etc.

David E Flandry

It might need a small booster stage, otherwise sure.


As the missile is launched from a helo with potentially no forward speed I suspect it would just need some kind of launch rail, like the Omani Sea Skua installation.

Nigel Collins

Damaged caused to a frigate by a 125kg warhead



4 X the warhead size of sea venom.. Different class of weapon. Can but dream in a post Harpoon world. Sighs and returns to last of the mince pies… ?

Nigel Collins

My point being, what real damage can sea venom do to a ship of this size? We need something to replace Harpoon now!


So this is how they are going to deal with all tailbacks at ports post brexit, blow up the containers mid channel. Cunning very Cunning. “No lines of goods to see here, just really robust live firing tests, move along move along”……….“but what have you done with my trailer/container/load”…….”it’s helping us test missiles, now sod off”.


‘Frank Bastart’ – open to mispronunciation ……


Just been reading that the Sea Venom will be delayed in coming into Royal Navy service. Anyone have an idea why?