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MBDA conducts 'high depth' ignition test of SCALP Naval missile booster

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The SCALP Naval missile. An MBDA photo

PARIS (BNS): As it prepares to test launch the underwater version of the SCALP Naval cruise missile system for the French Navy in 2011, European missile manufacturer MBDA has recently conducted a high depth ignition test of the missile’s booster engine.

The test, which set the booster in operation for several seconds, was carried out last month at a “significant depth” in a Norwegian fjord using an instrumented model of a SCALP Naval rear section secured in a submerged structure.

“First analysis of the test results show that the pressure profile of the booster, the ejection of the storage lid protecting the rear end of the missile and the model’s water-tight properties all behaved nominally,” the company said.

The latest test adds to the underwater travel tests for which a special installation, replicating submarine launch conditions, has been constructed by MBDA in conjunction with the French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA).

These combined tests prepare the way for the first test firing of SCALP Naval from a submarine envisaged during the course of 2011, MBDA said.

The company is developing the naval variant of the SCALP cruise missile in two configurations.

While in the first configuration, the missile is being designed for vertical launch from the French Navy’s future FREMM frigates using the compact A70 vertical launcher, in the submarine mode, it will be installed on the future Barracuda nuclear-powered attack submarines and launched through torpedo tubes.

MBDA had successfully tested the missile from a series production Sylver A70 vertical launcher in May this year.

The new long-range cruise missile, with deep strike capability, will use the propulsion, autonomous navigation and guidance and automatic target recognition similar to that of the Storm Shadow / SCALP air-launched cruise missile system already developed by MBDA.

The new missile is expected to enter service with the French FREMM surface vessels by 2013 and in the Barracuda submarines by 2017.

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