PARIS, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A naval cruise missile developed by MBDA France has completed its final qualification firing conducted by the French military procurement agency, DGA, and navy.
The Missile de Croisière Naval, or MdCN, will be deployed aboard French Navy FREMM frigates beginning next year and aboard Barracuda-class nuclear attack submarines around 2018.
"Featuring a range of several hundred kilometers (miles), MdCN has been devised for striking targets deep within enemy territory," DGA said. "It complements the air-launched cruise missile, Storm Shadow/SCALP, from which it is derived."
The final qualification test took place early this week at DGA's missile test center. All requirements and objectives were met, the agency said, including the missile's range performance.
Additional technical details of the testing, however, were not disclosed.
DGA awarded MBDA the contract to build the missile in 2006. The weapon is now in low-rate production.
The French Navy intends to acquire about 150 of the cruise missiles.
In other missile developments, MBDA has designed a lightweight missile for use by helicopters to defeat small, fast boats at sea.
The missile is called the Anti-Navire Leger and is the result of an accord between France and Britain for greater defense industrial cooperation.
The fire-and-forget missile, which includes a man-in-the-loop option, uses an infrared seeker and a datalink that enables bi-directional transmission of real-time information between the helicopter and the missile.
"The missile operator receives on his monitor the same image that is 'seen' by the missile so that, during the flight, he can re-designate another target or select the missile's impact point on a larger target, like a ship," said Nicolas Duchesne, DGA's manager of the anti-ship missile program. "For example, by disabling the rudder to immobilize the ship without destroying it.
"The operator can also abort the engagement, in which case the missile will fall into the water," said Nicolas Duchesne, DGA's manager of the anti-ship missile program. "This dual capability simplifies the missile's operation, while allowing the operator to adapt its mission in real time for a measured and gradual response, which can limit collateral damage."
Further development of the missile is being pursued by French and British companies and it is expected to undergo qualification testing in 2017-2018.
The French Ministry of Defense said parts are already being machined to manufacture prototype components of the missile.
"When we have a missile with a mature definition, DGA will carry out qualification firings," Duchesne said.
Britain intends for the missile to be carried by Royal Navy Lynx Wildcat helicopters. France has yet to decide on an aircraft for the weapon's use.
MBDA's contract to develop the Anti-Navire Leger, awarded in March of this year, is managed by a French-British government team.