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French Navy tests latest variant of Exocet missile

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The Exocet MM40 missile being fired from a warship. A DGA Photo

PARIS (BNS): The French Navy has conducted the successful test firing of the first Block 3 version of its Exocet MM40 anti-ship missile from a warship.

The surface-to-surface missile was launched on March 18 from on board the Horizon-class frigate Chevalier Paul from the Isle of Levant, off Toulon, the Navy said.

The Navy had recently received the Block 3 variant of the Exocet MM40 missile from the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA).

The DGA, in December 2008, had awarded a contract to missile manufacturing company MBDA to upgrade 45 Block-II version of the Exocet MM40 missiles into Block 3.

The Exocet Block 3 has an extended range out to 180km and will feature open ocean, littoral and coastal land attack capabilities. It is available for surface ships and coastal batteries.

The entire lot of the upgraded missiles are scheduled to be delivered to the French Navy between December 2010 and June 2013.

The Exocet anti-ship missile operates on 'fire and forget' principle and incorporates stealth features. Having a range of 70 to 180 kilometers, the missile can fly at 315 meters per second and carry weapons warheads up to 165 kg.

The missile can be fired from surface vessels, submarines, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

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