The first submarine launch of the SCALP Naval / MdCN (Missile de Croisière Naval) programme was carried out successfully by the French DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) at its Ile du Levant missile test centre in the Mediterranean on 8th June 2011.
Using an underwater platform simulating the launch conditions prevailing on the future Barracuda nuclear-powered attack submarine, this firing permitted all the intended test objectives to be demonstrated: the validation of the launch phase with the subsequent change of environment from water to air as well as the missile’s flight.
The positive outcome of this trial helps validate the definition of SCALP Naval / MdCN in its submarine configuration as well as validate the missile’s commonality concept for the two types of launch platform. It also adds to the success of the first vertical launch achieved in a frigate configuration last year. These two achievements constitute a major step in the SCALP Naval / MdCN development programme by removing the risk associated with the launch phases from the two types of launch platform, namely frigates and submarines.
As a result of this total success, the convergence of the MdCN missile programme with those of the two launch platforms, the entry into service of the FREMM frigate in 2014 and the Barracuda submarine in 2017, has been firmly confirmed.
Following the test launch, Antoine Bouvier, MBDA’s CEO, said: “I would especially like to congratulate the MBDA and government teams for the total success of this firing. SCALP Naval is in effect a priority for us all. It goes without saying that the most recent operations have served to remind us of the strategic necessity of a sovereign capability weapon for first strike“.