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Exocet AM.39 / MM.40 - Program

The development of the French medium-range anti-ship missile was launched in 1967 by Nord Aviation. The immediate reason was the successful demonstration of the capabilities of anti-ship weapons - the sinking of the Israeli destroyer "Eilat" by the Egyptians with the P-15 "Termit" Soviet missiles, which convinced the admirals of the need to create specialized anti-ship missiles.

Initially, the French fleet was supposed to adopt two types of missiles - a completely French medium-range and a French-Italian long-range (later to become Ototo), but after the first successful tests of a French rocket in 1973, France decided to withdraw from the joint project. It was decided that the French ships would be armed only with French weapons. Flight tests of the rocket began in 1971, to which the considerable experience of the Nord company in the development of guided missiles contributed a lot. In 1973 "Exochet" was adopted for service. It was decided to develop modifications of the rocket for launch from surface ships, airplanes and submarines. In the course conducted in 1974. The test rocket fleet of France, England, Germany, Greece and Peru produced 33 launches, 28 of which (85%) were successful. The Exocet MM-38 complex was adopted by the French Navy in 1975.

The air-launched version, AM 39, was developed later starting in 1974 and entering service with the French Navy in 1979. The missile is designed to attack large warships. A block 2 upgrade program was carried out from the late 1980s until 1993, and introduced an improved digital active radar seeker and upgraded inertial navigation and control electronics.

France agreed to supply India with sub-launched version of the Exocet Missile (ASM 39) for the Scorpene submarines. These are mainly anti-ship missiles and can be used against ships and off shore installations. These missiles are not considered against shore/coastal targets. The negotiations with TCSF were held with a precondition that the Tube Launched Missile (TLM) Exocet SM 39 would be made available for the Project, as the Submarines under the Project which are likely to remain operational for next 25 to 30 years, must have the capability to launch missiles from under water against enemy targets. In September, 1999, the French offered SM 39 capability on Indian Submarines provided the French Industry was chosen for the Combat System of Project-75—Submarine Project together with those to be modernized at a later stage.

On the 20th September 2012 afternoon, the French Navy has performed an operational evaluation firing of an Exocet AM39 from the Rafale M27. The firing conditions were fully representative of an operational mission. The aircraft, armed with the Exocet AM39 missile, has been catapulted from the deck of the Charles-de-Gaulle carrier and landed on the same deck one hour and half later. The success of this firing is a step further in the qualification of both the aircraft and the missile. It marks the end of the military experimentations and the start of the missile operational life.

The European company MBDA announced in October 2014 that it had orders for the supply of 400 MM 40 Block 3 Exocet anti-ship missiles and more than 50 launchers from 9 countries. The modification of Block 3 embodies significant improvements in propulsion and satellite guidance technologies, has a range of up to 200 km, which is twice the base sample (unlike the new version, it is equipped with a TRD instead of a solid propellant rocket motor). The rocket is capable of hitting not only ships, but also coastal targets using a high-explosive warhead weighing 160 kg. Since 2004, this rocket version has been acquired by Brunei, Greece, Morocco, Oman, Peru, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Egypt will equip these missiles with four new Gowind 2500 frigates ordered from the French shipbuilding company DCNS.

At the exhibition DIMDEX 2016 the company MBDA signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the supply to the Navy of Qatar (Qatar Emiri Naval Force - QENF) coastal missile systems. The future contract worth 2.64 billion rials (640 million euros) will give Qatar the opportunity to strengthen the country's coastal defense. This includes the supply of anti-ship missiles Marte ER (version of the Marte missile with an increased range of fire) and Exocet MM40 Block 3. The supply of these coastal missile systems will force the enemy not to enter the territorial waters of the state.

On March 2, 2017, the Indian Navy launched the MBDA Exocet SM39 Block 2 French anti-ship missile from a torpedo unit testing a large- scale diesel unit's high-speed, anti-ship missile. The missile was launched from the first of six non-nuclear submarines of the Scorpene project (Indian designation - project 75), built in India under license by agreement with the French shipbuilding association DCNS and “successfully hit” a training target during trials in the Arabian Sea.

The missile successfully hit a surface target at extended ranges during the trial firing. "This missile launch is considered to be a significant milestone, not only for the Kalvari, which is the first in a series of Scorpène class submarines being built in India but also in enhancing the Indian Navy’s sub-surface warfare capability.", said in the press release by the India's Ministry of Defense. Pakistan Navy's PNS Khalid (S137), PNS Saad (S138), and PNS Hamza (S139) which are also known as Agosta–90B class submarines (commissioned between 1999 to 2006) are equipped with the similar Exocet SM 39 Anti-Ship Missile system.

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Page last modified: 28-04-2019 18:50:14 ZULU