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 project developed under the Lancaster House treaty between France and the United Kingdom.

MBDA say that the Sea Venom/ANL anti-ship missile completed its qualification firings trials, with a successful final firing at the French Armament General Directorate (DGA) test site at Ile du Levant on the 17th of November.

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, lock on before launch, operator-in-the-loop, and aimpoint refinement.

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Captain P Wash

Another great example of a joint British French Venture.

Rudeboy1

Well it was very late….delayed by the French.

RickJ

They do classify the range in class to be greater than 20kms or 12 miles, high subsonic. Whereas the Martlet 8kms or 5 miles @ Mach 1.5 interestingly weighs the same as the warhead of the Sea Venom @ 30Kgs. A great pairing giving the Wildcat more teeth.

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Daniele Mandelli

This is the FASGW ( Heavy ) ? Replacing Skua?

Thought it was going to be years away from service. Has it been sped up?

Joe16

Morning Daniele, yes I believe it is FASGW(H).
I hadn’t seen an in service date for it previously, but it was one of those weapon systems that felt like it was always being talked about and in development, without any public progress being made. It was a nice surprise to find out that it’s cleared for use now.

Gunbuster

I don’t think it has been sped up.
It is still some time from being 100% operationally deployable with all the paperwork completed, magazines altered to take it, handling systems tried tested and approved, maintainers trained,OOQs trained up for moving it. etc.
Skua when first used in anger in 1982 wasn’t fully cleared for use but was used anyway. Im sure that if needs must it could now be produced and fitted for use onboard in short order.

Daniele Mandelli

Right, thanks GB.

I echo Joe’s comments above. A gap that could be filled quicker than I thought it would be.

Pete

The links to MBDA in the article talks about 2022 for the system to be operational. Thats about an 18-24 month delay from original plans in 2014 for IOC to be in 2020.

Nicholas

When used in pop up/top attack mode could Venom prove useful in disabling weapons systems? VLS cells are vulnerable to damage.at deck level and perhaps canister launchers are too. It might take quite a few Venom to sink a ship but knackering it’s weapons might be useful.

Steve R

I wouldn’t fancy using these against a serious combat ship like a frigate, destroyer or even a carrier, but I don’t think Sea Venom is meant for that. More for destroying smaller vessels. Say, for example, if Iran tried to attack or board one of our ships (unlikely, I know!) Sea Venoms fired from a Wildcat helicopter would make short work of them. We really do need to decide on an interim missile until Perseus is ready. I’d say Harpoon Block II as we already have the launchers for it; it should cost less than transitioning to, say, NSM. We… Read more »

Peter S.

Just checked the details: Sea Venom has a warhead of 30 kgs which contains a bigger bursting charge than the 5 inch gun on US ships and type26. Range is comparable too. A ship launched version could add some useful firepower to the type 31.

Paul.P

Thx. Interesting comparison, I think the idea would be to exploit the search radar and range of the Wildcat. It could detect the target at well over 100 miles, descend below the radar horizon, pop up, launch Sea Venom dip down and safely direct the missile onto the target. The AShM on most corvettes have a shorter range than the combination of Wildcat and Sea Venom. But they are fast. You wouldn’t want them to get close enough to launch their AShM.

4th watch

For comparison the British Mk7 14in AP shell had an actual bursting charge of 22kg and that was considered large. The shell weighed in at over 1500lb! That though says 30kg is enough to make a mess of a modern Frigate.

Peter S.

Absolutely. It’s easy to forget how much of the weight of traditional naval shells was devoted to breaching ship armour.
With the exception of some Kevlar type protection for command centres, modern warships are unarmoured, so 30 kgs is going to do real damage.

ETH

Harpoon block 2 does not have a land attack capability and so is not a competitor for the interim anti-ship missile purchase.

Frank62

Didn’t a Danish fired Harpoon demolish a hut or bungalow in an accident some years ago?

ETH

Yes, in 1982. However that was unintentionally fired and exploded when it collided with some trees.

Sintra

Harpoon block II has a land attack mode for two decades now, the first live fire against a land target was in May 2001.

ETH

I should have specified, a ‘terrain-following land-attack capability’ was one of the I-SSGW requirements. As far as I know Harpoon Block 2 is only guided over land by GPS and inertia.

Supportive Bloke

I don’t know if you get the sense that now the purse strings have been loosened and orders for various things can be confirmed that there is no longer a need to drip feed these press releases?

It is certainly the way it feels to me.

There is a lot of small-medium scale stuff that can be sped up that was artificially slowed down to fit cash flow curves. You know a lot of leisurely testing so as to put off the evil day that a PO had to be dated and raised!

Nicholas

Indeed. Additionally slow downs on projects often lead to higher costs overall. It might be nice to see some more freedom to innovate too. For instance something allowing for Venom to be fired from a ship.

Daniele Mandelli

Agree.

Mr Bell

I thought FASGW (Heavy) was the forth coming Perseus class anti ship high stealth cruise missile. Expected 2030+? So this missile isnt the heavy version. With a warhead that small it cant be. Martlett and sea venom are 2 takes on a similar proposition. A small guided missile that can be packed in large numbers to give an overwhelming swarm attack.

Daniele Mandelli

I may be wrong but I though that Martlet was FASGW Light and the Sea Skua replacement was FASGW heavy. Might be wrong.

ETH

You’re correct.

ETH

The 2030 heavyweight anti-ship missile is designated the FC/ASW (Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon.

Sea Venom has a warhead ten times larger than Martlet, whereas it takes up the space of 5 Marlet/LMMs. It gives the pilot a choice of missile depending on the designated target. Sea Venom has a much greater range.

Not to mention that Sea Venom has an IR Seeker and is much more autonomous once fired, compared to Martlet’s requirement for an almost constant laser guidance. Sea Venom also has a land-attack capability against static targets, whereas Martlet does not.

Frank62

Perseus is a decade away. So what we need is a proper AShM now. Not a lightweight short ranged missile. Plenty of excellent AShMs out there to choose from. Practically treason to leave our ships unequipped to disable or sink enemy warships.
Getting Sea Venom operational asap is good, but we should have Merlins capable to carry them too. Other navies have AShMs on theirs.

Geoff

Pity the RN surface fleet, historical protagonists at Jutland, River Plate, sinking of the Bismark, Trafalgar, Nile, etc. has no way to attack enemy ships if a Wildcat is not available.

Gunbuster

I think you will find that just like at Jutland, River Plate, Bismark, Trafalgar, Nile etc that good old naval surface gunnery is still available for use.

Frank62

Sadly likely opponents will have sunk our ships with their AShMs long before we could close to gun range & the T31s only have a pea shooter rather than a 4.5 or 5″ gun.

Joe16

Hi geoff, don’t worry it’s not quite that bad..!
Any escort heading into harm’s way gets the pair of cannister launchers for Harpoon, for 8 missiles, which is the same number of ASMs as any other NATO escort. Some Burkes don’t even have those anymore, and they don’t carry ASMs in their VLS. Admittedly, the Harpoons we have in service are rather long in the tooth, but they’ll do in a pinch until we get the interrim missile (hopefully).

ETH

Currently one of the requirements of the interim missile is for 5 sets for the GP Type 23s. Meaning the rest of the Type 23s and Type 45s will not have any anti-ship capability whatsoever.

Captain P Wash

Got a few F35B’s that can now !

ETH

Currently the closest thing to an anti-ship weapon certified on the RAF F35Bs is Paveway 4. It will remain that way until 2023 at the latest.

Captain P Wash

It’s a Stealth Fighter/bomber, It also carries Bombs.

Deep32

Morning C PW, I think that the issue with F35B is the lack of certified weapons it can currently carry (believe its only Aim 120 AMRAAM and Paveway 4 bombs) in our inventory. IWe get an increase in capability with the introduction of Blk 4 software-whenever that is!!!

Rudeboy1

Currently UK F-35B carry ASRAAM, AMRAAM C5 and Paveway IV.

By 2025 it should add:
Asraam CSP
Amraam D
Meteor
Spear
Spear-Glide
Spear-EW
Paveway IV Penetrator

No gun pods ordered…yet.

It’s worth noting that Asraam is the only ‘foreign’ weapon cleared on F-35 at present. The only other non-US weapon due any time soon is JSM, and that has had to be built with a US partner to get to that stage (the Turkish SOM-J can be written off at this point..).

Deep32

Cheers for that, was a bit unsure ref ASRAAM, couldn’t make out if it was fitted now or was coming with BLK 4 update. I believe the Norwegians and Aussies are progressing with JSM, but as I understand it won’t be released until BLK 4 update is out.

Supportive Bloke

I don’t think we will have to wait long for either the in service date for the precursor to Persius or an upgrade to the Harpoon to latest specs.

Persius is a while away so something has to be done in between.

It has always been on the shopping list and it was always a priority but two down from AAW (tightly very embedded in RN thinking post 82) and Swarm.

Rudeboy1

There’s no such thing as Perseus. It was an MBDA concept, but went no further than a study and CGI.

FC/ASW is currently in definition phase and MBDA are proposing 2 missiles, 1 subsonic, long range, stealthy and a Supersonic cruiser. Both appear to be complimentary.

Nicholas

For the sake of flexibility should Venom be integrated with the F35? Admittedly the F35 would have to get closer to the target than it would be used to but Venom isn’t designed to hit highly defended targets.

Pete

Thats what Spear 3 is for. I would be going the other way.. Integration of Spear 3 or brimstone sea spear onto Xildcat and Merlin. Commonality with F35 and greater range than Venom. I would also go further and have ship launched Spear 3 or Sea Spear retro fitted on type 31… Even if simply a dozen canisters. Give T31 some low cost over the horizon surgical strike capability.

john melling

Morning, WOW where did this suddenly appear from ;P Just had a look in the spec sheet for it 120kg 20 km plus range, 30kg warhead “Effective against small and larger ships and has a coastal suppression capability against land based threats and infrastructure” So not just and anti-ship missile then :O Wouldn’t want to be in front of that when its pointed at you ! and paired with Wildcat and its present capabilities its a lethal combination. Is this FASGW (Heavy) because they are classing it as a medium range so I’m wondering if maybe they are developing another… Read more »

Frank62

These should also be integrated into the Merlin. If your escort doesn’t have a Wildcat embartked, but a Merlin, it’s defenceless against surface ships. Especially short sighted when our escorts have obsolete AShMs, if any. Sea Skua was withdrawn in 2017. Also still rather short ranged when many enemy escorts can eliminate the helicopter before it gets within Sea Venom range.

DaveyB

I have often wondered why the RN in their infinite wisdom haven’t integrated more weapons on the Merlin? The Italian Merlins after all can fire the MBDA Marte missile, which is twice the weight of the Sea Venom, has a slightly longer range and carries a larger 70kg warhead.

Gavin Gordon

With that weapons wing it looks as mean as an Apache. What a combination ….especially for the Gulf

dan

What types of ships is this supposed to be used against given it’s very short range? Ships with little to no air defense?

Gunbuster

You can shoot it at Anything you want. It has a simultaneous time on target capability the same as Harpoon has. You dog leg the approach and you can have it coming from different directions. I wouldn’t worry about the range… Skua was substantially longer ranged than the official figures and it went a lot lower than the advertised skim heights. I have no doubt that Venom is exactly the same. A 30 kg SAP blast frag warhead aimed at a sensitive part of the ship via the data link is going to ruin your day. No transmissions from the… Read more »

Rudeboy1

I would treat the 20km max range with a lot of caution…..

In reality expect it to be double that.

Paul.P

Brilliant news! The ASW Type 23s should still get NSM though. Merlin will not carry Sea Venom.

whlgrubber

great news. now lets get them fitted to the Merlin