France orders Exocet MM40 Block 3C anti-ship missiles from MBDA

By Defence Industry Europe

France's Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) awarded a contract to MBDA for the acquisition of Exocet MM40 Block 3C (MM40 B3C) anti-ship missiles. These state-of-the-art missiles are set to equip the French Navy's frigates.

 

The B3C version of the missile is designed to maintain the operational excellence of the Exocet MM40, offering significant improvements in range, precision, and resistance to countermeasures. With a range exceeding 200 kilometers, the new B3C variant enhances the previous B3 version by incorporating a digital radar altimeter and a new seeker. These advancements are crucial in addressing the proliferation of next-generation electronic countermeasures and stealth ships.

The Exocet MM40 Block 3C has already begun to be deployed on the French Navy’s front-line frigates, including the multi-mission frigates (FREMM), air defence frigates (FDA), and soon, the defence and intervention frigates (FDI). The Exocet is a high-subsonic anti-ship missile family deployable from various platforms, including naval, aerial, and land-based systems. The missile’s evolution has been marked by successive standards named Block 1, 2, 3, and now 3C.

 

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This order follows a successful technical-operational evaluation firing conducted by the DGA in collaboration with the French Navy on September 20, 2023. The test, carried out from the air defence-enhanced FREMM Alsace, validated the performance of the B3C’s latest-generation seeker in a complex electronic warfare scenario.

These new missiles will complement the previously ordered Exocet MM40 B3Cs, with deliveries starting in January 2024. MBDA is also modernizing existing MM40 B3 missiles to the B3C standard. The production of the Exocet MM40 involves a wide network of subcontractors across France, with final assembly taking place at MBDA’s facility in Selles-Saint-Denis (Loir-et-Cher).

 

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