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French Navy successfully conducts 1st simultaneous launch of MdCN missiles.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by the French MoD on April 18, 2024, the Navy completed a first-ever simultaneous training launch of the naval cruise missile (MdCN) from both the FREMM frigate Aquitaine and a Suffren-class nuclear attack submarine. The missiles targeted a land-based location at the DGA missile test center in Landes, hitting their mark in unison.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 FREMM frigate Aquitaine firing naval cruise missile. (Picture source: French MoD)

With missiles being launchable from both surface and sub-surface units, enemy forces face increased complexity in their defense planning. They must prepare for potential attacks from multiple vectors and domains, which can dilute their defensive efforts and increase the chances of a successful strike by forces.

About the MdCN

The Missile de Croisière Naval (MdCN), or Naval Cruise Missile, is a long-range weapon developed by France. Weighing approximately 1,400 kg and spanning 6.5 meters in length, the MdCN is designed for precision strike capabilities from naval platforms. With a diameter of 500 mm and a wingspan of 2.85 meters, this missile is powered by a TR50 microturbo turbojet engine, facilitating a maximum speed of 800 km/h.

Equipped with a 300 kg high-explosive multipurpose warhead, the MdCN can engage targets up to 1,400 km away when launched from ships, and up to 1,000 km from submarines.

It employs an advanced guidance system that includes inertial guidance, topographic mapping (TERCOM/TERPROM), active radar, infrared guidance, and GPS, ensuring accuracy over long distances.

The MdCN is compatible with several launch platforms, including the FREMM multipurpose frigate and the newer Barracuda-class as well as Scorpène-class submarines. These platforms enable the missile to be a flexible component of naval arsenals, capable of being deployed in a range of strategic contexts.

Introduced into operational service with the French Navy in 2017, the MdCN has been tested in combat conditions. Its first operational deployment was during the missile strikes in Syria in April 2018, targeting a chemical weapons production facility. This operation, conducted in coordination with international forces, highlighted the missile's strategic utility.

Despite the overall success, the 2018 operation revealed some integration challenges between the MdCN and its launch platforms, particularly with some FREMM frigates. Technical issues that affected missile deployment were subsequently addressed, improving the system's reliability.

Further validation of the missile's performance came with the successful test firing from the Suffren, the first of the new Barracuda-class submarines, in October 2020. This test was particularly significant given the earlier challenges and marked a milestone in demonstrating the operational capabilities of the MdCN from submarine platforms.

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