Sunday, 23 September 2012

French Navy Rafale M test fires a live AM39 Block2 Mod2 Exocet Anti-ship missile for the first time

On September 19, 2012, a French Navy (Marine Nationale) Rafale M was launched from the nuclear powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91) and fired an Exocet anti-ship missile according to the French aerospace magazine Air & Cosmos.

The AM39 Block2 Mod2 Exocet missile, which was live round, destroyed its target at sea. The test, which was a first for the French Navy (previous tests were conducted either by Dassault or by an evaluation unit), validates the anti-ship missile for future operational use.
The Exocet AM39 Anti-ship missile is in service with the French armed forces and the navies of 11 other countries. In January 2004, the French DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) awarded MBDA with the contract covering the development of both the Exocet AM39 Block2 Mod2 and the Exocet MM40 Block3.

In June 2007, the latest Mod2 development of the Exocet AM39 Block2 completed its final validation firing from a naval Rafale F3 combat aircraft. The firing also served as the validation firing for the Rafale in its F3 standard. The Mod2 evolution has seen the digitisation of Exocet AM39 Block2, an adaptation called for by the requirements of the latest generation of rotary and fixed wing aircraft such as the Rafale F3.
The Exocet has an OTH (Over The Horizon) firing capacity and a range of other operational benefits including :
• low signature
• late seeker activation
• sea-skimming at very low altitude
• enhanced target discrimination and ECCM
• high penetrative power against modern naval air defences.

The Exocet AM39 can be launched from a range of platforms: fighter aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft and medium or heavy helicopters at stand-off ranges.

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