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France conducts first full test-firing of SCALP Naval missile

The SCALP Naval missile. An MBDA photo

BISCAROSSE (BNS): France has successfully carried out the first full test firing of the SCALP Naval cruise missile system last month.

The missile, being developed by European missile maker MBDA for the French Navy which has designated it as MdCN, was test launched from the Biscarosse test range on July 9.

The launch, conducted by French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA), was representative of a firing from a frigate.

"All the objectives were achieved, notably the validation of the missile's terminal phase with its autonomous guidance using infrared scene recognition," MBDA said, adding that this guidance mode permits the missile to strike targets with an exceptional degree of precision.

SCALP Naval was test fired by the DGA for the first time in May 2010 during which the missile was launched using a FREMM frigate configuration from a production series Sylver A70 launcher.

The latest test was the first full test-firing of the cruise missile system which is being developed to arm French Navy's futuristic 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, is developing the naval variant of the cruise missile in two configurations.

In the first configuration, the missile is being developed for vertical launch from the future FREMM frigates using the compact A70 vertical launcher. In the submarine mode, the weapon will be launched through torpedo tubes.

The cruise missile having a range of "several hundred kilometers" 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.

The SCALP Naval is expected to enter service with the French Navy's FREMM surface vessels by 2014 and equip the Barracuda submarines by 2017.

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