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French Navy Successfully Conducts First Simultaneous Test Launch of Naval Cruise Missiles

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French Navy Successfully Conducts First Simultaneous Test Launch of Naval Cruise Missiles

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French Navy Successfully Conducts First Simultaneous Test Launch of Naval Cruise Missiles
French Navy Successfully Conducts First Simultaneous Test Launch of Naval Cruise Missiles

The French Navy (Marine nationale) has successfully fired MBDA’s Naval Cruise Missiles (NCM, or Missile de Croisière Naval (MdCN)) simultaneously from both the multi-mission frigate Aquitaine (FREMM ASM) and a nuclear-powered attack submarine (Suffren class), with the missiles striking the same target at the same time with pinpoint accuracy as part of training exercises on the 18th April 2024. This double firing was performed with the technical support of the French Armament General Directorate (DGA). With NCM and MBDA’s industrial capabilities, France belongs to an exclusive club of countries capable of firing cruise missiles from, and below, the surface of the sea.

Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, said: “Congratulations to the French Navy’s officers, non-commissioned officers and mariners engaged on this very first synchronized firing of NCMs from a multi-mission frigate and from a nuclear-powered attack submarine. This success, a first of its kind, demonstrates the capability offered by NCM in the current context of strategic competition and high intensity warfare, as well as the outstanding ability of the French Navy to perform a complex strike from the sea. The double firing is a clear illustration of the partnership for excellence between MBDA’s teams of experts, the French Navy and DGA to ensure battle-readiness.”

Launch of the naval cruise missile form FREMM Aquitaine.
Launch of the naval cruise missile form FREMM Aquitaine. (Photo by French Navy)

The Missile de Croisière Naval (MdCN), meaning Naval Cruise Missile, is a French turbojet-powered subsonic cruise missile intended for ship and submarine-based land-attack operations. Originally dubbed combat proven air-launched Storm Shadow/SCALP long range deep strike missiles, the program arose out of a requirement issued by the French Ministry of Defence for a more potent cruise missile capable of striking strategic and military targets from extended stand-off ranges in order to complement the air-launched SCALP-EG/Storm Shadow. It is the only European very long-range naval cruise missile launched from both submersed submarines and surface warships, day or night in any weather conditions.

NCM has some specific modifications including, extended range, a new generation of GNSS capability, highly accurate time-on-target (TOT) capability and a radar cross section (RCS) reduction design. NCM offers unmatched penetration deep into hostile territory with high survivability, guaranteeing mission success. MBDA is spirally developing the capabilities of NCM to keep its performance at the forefront of deep strike capability, and on its integration onto additional platforms. MBDA is actively engaged in several international export campaigns for NCM, offering to its customers an outstanding cruise missile for the coming decades. The MdCN was used in its first operational strike during the April 2018 missile strikes against Syria against the Syrian chemical weapons production site.

The first naval cruise missile missile just hit the target while the second one is about to strike.
The first naval cruise missile missile just hit the target while the second one is about to strike. (Photo by Direction générale de l’armement/DGA)

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