29/10/2012 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter
A new long-range cruise missile for the French Navy's been test-launched by DGA - the French Government defence procurement agency tasked with managing, developing and acquiring new military technologies for the country's armed forces.
For the first time, the MBDA SCALP Naval cruise missile was launched from a platform positioned underwater, representing the submarines that, in future years, will be equipped with the new weapon.
Quoting DGA officials, MBDA subsequently confirmed in a press release that the SCALP firing served to achieve ‘all test objectives...notably the validation of the GPS guidance mode in the terminal phase.'
SCALP Naval Cruise Missile
Known also as the MdCN (Missile de Croisière Naval), the SCALP Naval cruise missile is a variant of the air-launched Storm Shadow, which has been in service for a decade. With a top speed of Mach 0.8 and a 250 mile range, Storm Shadow's so far been ordered by six nations including Saudi Arabia and Italy and it equips a range of combat jets, including the Dassault Rafale, Tornado GR4 and IDS, Mirage 2000 and Saab JAS-39 Gripen.
Compared to its predecessor, the SCALP Naval cruise missile is specifically designed for the maritime arena, is booster-launched to help it surge through the waves and has a much longer range of up to 1,000 kilometres.
In French Navy service, it'll be carried by both Barracuda class submarines and FREMM multipurpose frigates, going into operation in 2014. Six-point-five metres long, the SCALP Naval cruise missile weighs 1,400 kilograms and, while designed first and foremost for the French Navy, the Greek Navy has emerged as a potential first export customer.
SCALP Missile Test Launch
‘With its range of some several hundred kilometers, MdCN is able to strike targets deep within enemy territory', MBDA stated in its SCALP missile test launch press release.
‘Embarked on warships positioned safely on-station for extended periods in international waters, either overtly (surface frigates) or discretely (submerged submarines), MdCN is ideal for missions calling for the destruction of strategically high value infrastructure targets.'