The official French Navy Twitter account has released a short video showing the test-firing of an Exocet SM39 submarine-launched anti-ship cruise missile from the nuclear-powered attack submarine in the Atlantic Ocean on April 19. According to French Navy in their press release, a classified nuclear attack submarine destroyed a target at a distance of about 30 kilometers with an SM39 anti-ship missile.The objective of this exercise is to use a anti-ship missile on a target designated by French Navy Atlantique 2 (ATL2) maritme patrol aircraft.
The Exocet (flying fish) is a French-built anti-ship missile whose various versions can be launched from surface vessels, submarines, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. The Exocet saw its first wartime launch during the Falklands War. The SM-39 is the submarine launched variant of AM-39 exocet anti-ship missile. The missile is housed inside a watertight launched capsule , which is fired by the submarine’s torpedo-launch tubes. On leaving the water, the capsule is ejected and the missile’s motor is ignited.
The SM-39 then behaves like a standard anti-ship cruise missile. It can destroy a sea-based target from a range of 50 kilometers. The missile features all weather capability, sea skimming flight, solid propellant and a high kill warhead. It then rapidly homes into the target at sea skimming level: it uses an inertial navigation system followed by autonomous terminal guidance from an active RF seeker. The missile will be fired at depth, which makes it particularly suitable for discreet submarine operations.