MBDA’s Sea Venom/ANL missile has successfully completed its second development firing from a French Defence Procurement Agency Panther test helicopter at Ile Du Levant in southeast France.

The firing, which took place on 18 April 2018, highlighted Sea Venom/ANL’s lock on after launch (LOAL) capabilities. The company say it also validated the missiles aptitude for low-altitude, sea-skimming flight, the effectiveness of the data link between the missile and helicopter and Sea Venom/ANL’s autonomous guidance capability, using images from its infrared seeker.

Guto Bebb, UK Minister for Defence Procurement, said:

Sea Venom is yet another weapon that will help our Royal Navy keep the United Kingdom safe amid intensifying global threats. The lightweight subsonic sea-skimming missile, which will equip our Wildcat helicopters, will add to our Navy’s impressive capabilities while at sea and ensure they remain equipped to face every eventuality.

The test firing partnership between France and the United Kingdom is also another fantastic display of the two nations working together to protect global waters.”

Frank Bastart, head of the Sea Venom/ANL programme at MBDA said:

We’re delighted that the second development firing of Sea Venom/ANL was a complete success. We have now tested a range of the missile’s capabilities and it has performed to the very edge of its operational envelope, which is testament to the hard work and skills of our development and production teams in conjunction with DGA.

This is a significant milestone in the development of the missile and when it enters service Sea Venom/ANL will provide a major increase in capability to the UK and French navies.”

Sea Venom/ANL is part of an Anglo-French programme linked to the Lancaster House treaty agreed between the UK and France in November 2010 and possesses a ‘fire and forget’ mode along with ‘operator above the loop’ capability to maintain control over the entire missile trajectory. It has been designed for use from the widest range of platforms; in UK service the missile will be used from the AW159 Wildcat helicopter, while France will operate the missile from its future Light Joint Helicopter (HIL – Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger).

The missile is designed to enable the helicopters of both countries’ navies to deal with a range of threats including fast moving patrol boats, corvettes and coastal targets.

69 COMMENTS

  1. Sea Skua proved to be a vital weapon in Britain’s armoury. Sea Venom improves significantly on that capability and will be essential to the RN in littoral conflict and force protection. It also represents an important milestone for MBDA and Anglo/French Defence cooperation. Bring it on!

    • Technically it’s Anglo/French/Italian cooperation, if you judge it by the company ownership (37.5% Airbus, 37.5% BAE, 25% Leonardo) 🙂 – I’m not sure where the actual technical development is being done but on that one, and with out me being a bit tongue-in-cheek, I suspect you’re right and it is primarily at French and UK locations.

      MBDA is a class act. When I saw the recent article here about the UK storming French beaches (as part of a joint exercise) I realised it was a slightly humorous headline and the first silly thought that popped into my mind was “I wonder whether they could make it far enough inland to annex MBDA”. It’s the non-UK European defence company that I covet most in terms of wishing it was 100% British. Thales is none too shabby either.

      • Shame your thoughts are not shared by BAES who tried unsuccessfully to rid themselves of their shareholding some years ago. That would have been their second strategic mistake had they gone through with it, the first being selling their share of Airbus. Mind you, it might have been a ploy to force MOD to enter into the Complex Weapons partnership guaranteeing them a steady income. But never mind. Credit where credit’s due. MBDA have certainly proven themselves to be a very successful act. Weapon systems like Meteor, Ceptor, Storm Shadow, Sea Venom, ASTER, MMP, DM Brimstone, SPEAR 3 and others are world leading. And yes, Sea Venom is a joint Anglo/French programme cofunded by DE&S/DGA and developed by the U.K. and French arms of MBDA.

      • Shame BAES didn’t share your ambition when they tried to sell their shares a few years ago. Would have been as big a mistake as selling their share of Airbus. Although it could have been a ploy to force the CWP out of MOD. But credit where credit’s due. MBDA has certainly proven to be a class act. Weapon systems such as Meteor, Storm Shadow, ASRAAM, Sea Venom, ASTER, DM Brimstone, SPEAR 3, Ceptor, MMP and other’s are world class. And yes, Sea Venom is a joint Anglo/French programme cofunded by DE&S/DGA and developed by the U.K. and French arms of MBDA.

  2. Hot of the Press(or am I wrong) The Mail Online has just said that Rolls Royce-the Luxury Carmaker are to slash 4000 jobs worldwide but I thought it was Rolls Royce the Aero Engine giant which as far as i am aware is an entirely separate company! If this is the case then the Mail have outdone themselves in the slack reporting stakes. Blunder of the Year

        • 20 odd % of our country being non White British isn’t enough, we definitely have to keep letting more in! Terrorist attacks? Keep letting more in! Our girls being raped? Keep letting more in! I think we should just keep letting more in until we are outnumbered in our own country!

          Seriously though we cannot just keep letting more in forever, we have to draw the line somewhere. I don’t see China or Korea or Japan etc. doing this. If we need people in certain areas train our own people.

          • Should be barred from the site. Not only is he completely off subject, but it is blatantly racist and xenophobic. If foreigners have skills the country needs, let them in. By all means train as much home grown talent as possible, but if the country’s economic development demands a faster pace, don’t hold it back artificially. Immigrants have built this country throughout its history. And if we are now to restrict immigration from the EU the inevitable consequence is that it will have to increase from other parts of the world.

          • Well, IMO there is obviously some kind of ‘defect’ in the character of the indigenous population. I have to ask the question why people trained as doctors for example don’t want to work as well paid GPs? The same could be said of homegrown nurses or teachers or engineers. Is it that immigrants are hungrier, less greedy, have simpler traditional family values and are more grateful just to have a job?
            It is always easy to blame someone else rather than examine your self.

          • There will be 600 rocket scientists,architects and brain surgeons coming our way sooner or later from Spain as for immigrants “building” our country i resent that i have spent a sizeable portion of my life employed building the infrastructure of this country and up to twenty odd years ago you may have seen the odd Sikh sparkie,German engineer or West Indian scaffolder all doing a bloody job but by no means where they the majority on a site unlike now where on some sites there is hardly any British workforce and the workforce they do employ are on half the rate of a Brit.

          • He was referring to Britain’s whole history Marc, and he is indeed right in saying it’s been built by immigrants.

            Unless you’re of Celtic ancestry (Irish, Welsh, Gaelic Scots, Cornish) then your family history will trickle down to immigrants coming to this island in the common era (AD)

            Romans, Angles, Saxons, jutes, Viking’s, Norman’s all came and settled from the continent, why do you think the English Language is a Germanic one.

            That’s what makes me chuckle when I see videos of a Britain first or EDL anti immigration rally on YouTube and there’s a skin head holding a St George’s flag shouting “Anglo-Saxon” at the camera thinking it means some English thoroughbred from ancient times. No it’s the collective name given to the massive influx of immigrants that came over here from Germany after the Romans left you complete moron stop embarrassing yourself.

            I wonder what Stephen G feels about this revelation, I take it you’re not Irish, Welsh or Scottish who are the true indigenous people of these isles Stephen and you are indeed English, do you know your bloodline will 100% without a shadow of a doubt trace back to an immigrant? How do you feel about that?

          • Well said Brian & Richard, and good info SoleSurvivor. This forum is no place for xenophobic rants, nor is anywhere else for that matter.

            As to Paul’s point, the closing maxim (“It is always easy to blame someone else rather than examine your self”) is a good one but in this case I would suggest much of it is down to globalisation and that’s just a facet of the modern world. Highly trained UK professionals see better paid opportunities overseas, often accompanied by the perception of a better lifestyle (which may or may not be accurate), and go off and work in some other country thus leaving a vacuum in the UK. In turn however, professionals from countries with lower wage rates and a standard of living that is perceived by them to be worse than the UK (again, a perception that may or may not be accurate) come over here and fill that vacuum.

            Also, on the GP thing, I suspect that interests and career ambitions have a lot to do with it. If things like cardiology, neurology, immunology or pretty much any non-GP consultant specialisation is viewed as more glamorous and potentially more lucrative than being a GP it is not that surprising that many young UK doctors staying in the UK flood in to fill the vacant hospital doctor positions in preference to the GP positions.

      • Thanks Nigel. I see they got a pounding in the comments section before they changed the Headline. They really are hopeless to the point where you can barely believe ANYTHING you read in the Mail especially on defence matters

  3. Sounds like it should be a step change in capability. The interesting part is that Sea Skua went out of service last year, the last firing was from the last operational FAA Lynx, and this won’t enter service until 2020 at the earliest. I do wish that our politicians would realise that wars don’t start when they want them to, they usually take them by surprise, and it would be good to have a full capability on Wildcat without a gap.

    • sea skua did okay all considered, although its destructive capability let it down when fired from a lynx from h.m.s brilliant in 1982, it bounced off the conning tower argentine submarine santa fe!

  4. To be fair, Skua was fired in the Falklands and hit a number of targets when it was only just starting full production and being introduced into service.. If we need Venom, I am sure we could get it the same as we did for Skua.

    • Great. The whole CWP is really bearing fruit. Long term strategy, properly funded. Exactly how it should be done.

      How much do people think will this mitigate the lack of Harpoon replacement?

      • CWP is how it should be done, no doubt! But the MOD/government had to be blackmailed in order to agree to it. Our politicians hate to be committed to anything long term or held to account. Strategy? Long term planning? Not in their lexicon.

      • As for your second question Ian, the answer is no. It’s intended for a different requirement. But I suppose in as much as it will be the only ASuW capability the RN will have then yes, this is better than nothing. But I can’t see a fleet of Wildcats flying suicide missions against a Slava firing dozens of Sea Venoms, can you?

          • Thank you for that reminder Paul.P. Good to know. Of course, P-8 is not organic to the Task Force and may not always be available.

        • Hi Richard. Well, yes, the RAF do have to make P-8’s available when required. And yes, we have to buy enough of them. But it was an unexpected piece of good news when I spotted it, hidden away in the answer to a question on torpedos.
          The way things seem to be going with T31 budget it could happen that a solitaire T31 ‘patrol frigate’ without AShM and without a 5in with long range guided ammo unexpectedly comes up against a superior full fat frigate or needs to sail into waters where there is a submarine.
          In those circumstances it needs to be able to whistle up a P-8 with Harpoon.
          The UK is fortunate to have a global network of bases. I would think P-8 has a radius of action of 2-3k miles which puts large tracts of earths surface within a few hours range of Gib, Akrotiri, Bahrain, Diego Garcia, Port Stanley, Ascension.

          • Paul.P, no doubt if a carrier task force deployed somewhere where threat assessment required presence of P-8, it would somehow find its way there. Don’t understand though why USN/RN consider Harpoon no longer a suitable weapon for their surface combatants (and no longer carried by F-18s), but apparently it’s OK for the P-8? Anyway, I would still prefer to have an organic ASuV capability within the task force, even if only on a T26 and an F-35. My understanding is that the USN plans are for this to be primarily LRASM. I haven’t heard of any equivalent RN plans although I’m encouraged by the T26 being fitted with the Mk-41 VLS.

          • No. It’s because of it’s indiscriminate targeting. Fire it and it will sink the first ship it sees in its search area. Not cool.

        • Well perhaps not but I do wonder how effective that Slava would be if one or more missiles hit the antennas and sensors? The same comment also applies to any modern warship really. If the sensors go then what is the ship still capable of in either prosecuting an attack or conducting its own defence or that of others?

          There is a lot of focus on Harpoon and having a modern complex rules of engagement capable missile in this class may be desirable, but we don’t have to sink ships to make them ineffective.

      • i’d hope to see something radical in the anti ship systems exocet and harpoon covered a long timespan, the lack of a grade 1 replacement for harpoon is a worry that should have been addressed earlier than it has done, maybe a new f3 air 5 launched system will be unveiled in the not too distant future, but they need to get on with it.

  5. “will add to our Navy’s impressive capabilities while at sea and ensure they remain equipped to face every eventuality.”

    What? Like most our surface escorts eventually having no ASM capability apart from helicopter launched.

    If Russia is building up its navy the RN needs a decent ASM ASAP.

    • Sea Venom has an over the horizon capability; further than Sea Skua. I would guess at least 30- 40km. My understanding is that it is intended to defeat missile carrying corvettes and littoral launch sites of AShM. Coastal targets.
      For heavier targets and in open water Type 26 will have the Mk45 which can deliver guided ammunition out to over 70km I think. Beyond that we will be dependent on Astutes and the underwing Harpoons which will be carried by the Poseidon fleet. Per the answer to the Parliamentary question 144839 the UK P-8s will be fitted for and with Harpoon; block 2 I think. It is beyond my pay grade but I assume the powers that be have simulated our ability to protect a carrier task force against current threats with these options. Assuming we buy them of course….

        • Ok; I don’t know the full capabilities of F-35B. Can their stealth and istar capabilities get them close enough to a target frigate to launch what they will carry: a) Paveway, b) SDB or c) Spear 3?

          • PaulP, you’ve just asked the £64M question. I personally don’t know. I suspect someone in the Air Warfare Centre and DSTL has done the analysis. But only if there is a military requirement. I would be willing to bet my pension that neither the RN or RAF have a requirement to strike enemy shipping with the F-35B, but I might be wrong. Does anybody know? In my view Paveway IV and SPEAR 3 would not be suitable to attack a task force consisting of high end Russian warships with all of their systems working and properly worked up crews. The USN and USAF appear to be committing themselves to LRASM – that must be for a reason.

          • The F-35 is designed to take out high value targets in the most heavily defended airspace. Why would anyone think that did not cover sea targets as well as land?

            I’m afraid Skeptical one would lose his pension.

            LRASM is not being purchased for the US F-35’s but for older types such as the F-18 and B-1.

    • Don’t think EU can do anything to stop joint Anglo/French Defence programmes… Can’t afford to do everything ourselves. Sharing costs with the French if we can (the only other European military heavyweight) makes sense. Also it taps into their rich and experienced engineering resources. We don’t have enough engineers of our own and nor do they. Together however we are quite a formidable combination. Also, modern systems are complex and risky. Sharing the operational and maintenance risk with another front-line user is helpful and reassuring. Doesn’t stop us collaborating with others, of course. And if we can hop on the back of a major US programme, then that OK as well, except that you’ll never be in charge!

      • The USA is a far more reliable partner than the French. Compared the US dominated F35 project to the EU’s Galileo, i know which basket i would rather put my eggs in.

        • Here we go again. OK, let’s give back our Storm Shadows, Sea Vipers and Sea Venoms. Lets give back our Voyagers and A400Ms. Let’s dismantle Airbus. Oh, and let’s ask our very reliable US partners to give us back the contract we won for their new AAR tankers and which was then unfairly gave to Boeing. And the EH-101 helicopter contract for Marine One, won, then cancelled then given to Sikorsky. And the 300% tariffs slapped on Bombardier/Shorts aircraft. And the tariffs placed on British steel and aluminium on security grounds. If tomorrow Trump wakes up and decides he no longer likes the F-35 programme and decides he might cancel it, no regard will be paid to our tier one partner status. You ride a tiger’s tail when you are in a programme with the US. You’re never in charge. That’s not to say we shouldn’t do it. We should cooperate and partner with all allies as it best suits us and often that means with France. And on Galileo, yes, the EU have adopted a totally stupid and unreasonable posture which, if they don’t change, they’ll come to regret. But all the indications are that’s the Germans who are behind this move and the French are trying to knock heads together behind the scenes in the hope that common sense applies. So I think your statement lacks all foundation.

          • And your diatribe seems singularly devoid of facts.

            As for Europeans never cancelling projects and leaving the UK high and dry – gimme a break, they invented it.

          • Ron5

            There is loads of facts in that post try reading a whole post and think about what’s said.

            “As for Europeans never cancelling projects”

            😂 where did that come from, can you tell me where in the post that comes from?

          • The post claims Trump may cancel a joint project leaving the UK high and dry. I’m merely pointing out that the UK has had that done to it by European “partners” in the past. They have a history of being far worse.

        • Yeah nobody said it was a mistake Ronald

          This is another classic case of you replying to something you think you can read from a post, but infact isn’t there at all.

          • Yeah he does that. Unintentionally blunt I hope. On the other hand BAE does make some great equipment.

          • Puzzled by you lack of understanding. Let me use simpler language: the original poster by saying it would be nice not to give away the defence budget to Bae was implying Bae gave poor value for money and that he would prefer the money go elsewhere. I responded with a couple of examples of where Bae has provided excellent value.

            Got it?

          • No Ronald I haven’t got it, I think it’s you who is puzzled.

            He didn’t say “nice not to give away the defence budget to Bae”

            He said “welcome change from giving away the defence budget to BAE”

            And you have deduced from that sentence, “welcome change from giving away the defence budget to BAE” is implying you don’t get value for money from BAE? And first you said it implied that using BAE was a huge mistake?

            I’ve been in my job 6 years, it’s ok but a different job might be a welcome change, doesn’t mean anything is wrong with my current job, certainly not a huge mistake, it would just be a welcome change.

            Do you understand now Ron?

  6. SoulSurvivor. I think it is you that is being bombastic in this conversation. Valid points are being made on both sides. You are just procrastinating.

  7. Sole survivor i am well aware of the history of this country and how immigration has shaped this country but i am also aware that the population after the Norman invasions was fairly stable you had the odd influx of immigration like the huguenots and dutch jews from Eastern Europe in the nineteenth century the Irish of course but these at the most amounted to a few hundred thousand and for the most part integrated my great grandfather was a Polish jewish immigrant who joined the Royal Navy, immigration today is a globalist racket designed to lower wages and and living standards how in gods name is it beneficial to a country to import millions of people who have no skills and no intention of integrating we do not have the housing the schools or the hospitals to support this influx of people also look what happened and continues to happen with the connivance of the police ,social services and local councils in Rotherham Oxford and numerous other Muslim enclaves also in London with the stabbings surely you are not that blind that you cannot see.A collective madness has infected our ruling classes political parties and the media i for one am worried sick about the future for my kids and grand kids as for the EDL the founder Tommy Robinson who is not a racist btw is now in prison again he will probably be killed murdered for his political beliefs by a muslim inmate but in reality by the British State if that happens prepare for all hell to break loose.

    • What is the case is that there and always have been influential negative forces in the world who foster division and war because they benefit financially from the resultant disruption.
      Every person and community has a decision to take as to how to respond to these tendencies, which are latent within us all. After a slow start and thanks to the unrecognized persistence of a small number of female social workers the legal system is now working to root the ‘Rotherhams’. Tony Robinson’s activities are inflammatory and left unchecked could lead to violence in which a lot of good people could get hurt. That is why he is being restrained by the law.
      I don’t think there is any connection between Muslims and the knife crime epidemic. If anything the Muslim community have stronger stabilising family structures than the average for the UK and their sharia tradition means their communties are self policing.
      Anyway this blog is a defence blog. Comments on strengthening UK industrial and engineering skills are fine, but Tony Robinson and his activities and rants like yours are not going to save the UK.

  8. There is a big difference between invasion and migration, invasion is forced instance whereas allowing migration is a choice.

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