As we have already written, the French government intends to transfer to the Armed Forces a significant number of armored personnel carriers VAB and there is evidence that this equipment is already on the road, and in part, perhaps, even at the front. In addition, as French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu said in an interview with Le Parisien, France is considering providing Ukraine with Exocet anti-ship missiles.
It seems that the Armed Forces already have enough anti-ship means of destruction, which do their job very well – Р-360 Neptun, AGM/RGM/UGM-84 Harpoon , Brimstone, which can also be used as anti-ship. But Exocet… This is a very special rocket.
First, the Exocet is one of the few Cold War-era anti-ship missiles with a history of actual use in combat. Secondly, it is almost the only missile that hit the warships of Great Britain (two even sank) and the United States. Moreover, the British Navy was really afraid of these missiles, and British intelligence did everything possible to prevent Argentina from receiving new supplies of these weapons. What kind of miracle rocket is this?
Development of the marine version of the Exocet anti-ship missile (French – “flying fish”) was started by Nord Aviation in 1967. Only two years later Nord Aviation became part of the concern Aerospatiale, which produced these missiles until 2001. Now they are under the care of the transnational concern MBDA (Airbus – BAE Systems – Leonardo).
The relatively small missile is designed to hit small and medium-sized ships – frigates, corvettes, destroyers, but with a few hits can cause damage to large ships, even aircraft carriers. By the way, during the Falklands War, Argentina tried to use Exocet against the British aircraft carrier HMS Invincible (R05). It failed not because the missiles failed, but because the intelligence did not guess the location of the ship.
The ship’s version of the Exocet – MM38 – was adopted in 1975. Aviation AM39 – in 1979, and in 1982 it was this version of the Exocet that drowned the British destroyer HMS Sheffield (D80), and in 1987 almost drowned the American frigate USS Stark, which remained afloat only due to the successful actions of the commander and the team.
In addition, there is a version of the Exocet SM39 for launch from submarines and MM40, which can be used on both warships and as a ground-based system. The MM38 has not been produced for a long time, and the only coastal complex based on it, Excalibur, was taken off duty in Gibraltar in 1997. So, most likely, Ukraine will receive the MM40 missile, but the question remains. Because MM40 Block 1, Block 2, and Block 3 are slightly different things.
Operational range of MM40 Block 1 is only 40 km, Block 2 – 70 km, but Block 3 range, development of which began in 2004 is already quite respectable 200 km. In addition, the Block 3 version has a turbojet engine and four air intakes to ensure continuous airflow during maneuvers. Block 3 missiles are guided by GPS, and can hit both marine and ground targets. Perhaps the latter is the same main factor that influenced the request of the Armed Forces to the French Ministry of Defense.
Exocet is a direct competitor to Harpoon and is in service with 30 countries, including France, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Greece, India, Turkey, and many others.
Before questions are asked. No, it will not work on the Crimean bridge. Too far.
Weight – 780 kg
Length – 6 m
Diameter – 34.8 cm
Warhead – 165 kg
Engine – solid fuel; turbojet (MM40 Block 3)
Wingspan – 1.35 m
Operational range – MM38 – 40 km; AM39 – 70 km; SM39 – 50 km; MM40 Block 3 – 200 km
Flight altitude – sea-skimming
Maximum speed – Mach 0.93 or 1,148 km/h
Guidance – inertial guidance, active radar homing, and GPS guidance