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MdCN cruise missile completes final qualification test firing

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A French DGA photo of the MdCN test firing.

PARIS (BNS): The French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) has successfully conducted the final qualification test firing of the MdCN cruise missile system on October 27, paving way for the weapon's series production.

The test firing, carried out from the DGA's Missile Test Centre at Biscarrosse on the Atlantic coast represented a missile launch from a frigate.

The firing enabled the full scope of flight objectives to be satisfied, particularly regarding the demonstration of the missile's range performance, DGA said.

The MBDA-designed MdCN (missile de croisière naval in French) is set to equip the French Navy's Aquitaine-class FREMM multi-mission frigates and the Barracuda class nuclear-powered attack submarines.

MBDA, which has already produced the Storm Shadow / SCALP air-launched cruise missile system, was awarded the contract in 2006 to develop the naval variant of the cruise missile in two configurations.

While the weapon is designed for vertical launch from the FREMM frigate using the compact A70 vertical launcher, in submarine mode, it is launched through torpedo tubes.

The first test firing of the missile took place in May, 2010 using a FREMM frigate configuration from a production series Sylver A70 launcher. It was launched from an underwater platform for the first time in June 2011.

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.

MdCN will equip the French Navy's FREMMs during 2015 and its Barracuda submarines in around 2018, the DGA said.

France had originally placed an order for 250 such missiles with MBDA but later cut it to 150.

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