French Exocet AS-39 missile: the enemy of my ally is my client

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Exocet 3d model

History:

The AM39 Exocet missile, developed by the French company Aerospatiale (now MBDA), has a storied history dating back to its introduction in the 1970s. It is the Air-Sea variant of the exocet family.

One of the most significant events involving the Exocet occurred during the Falklands War in 1982. Argentine forces utilized Exocet missiles to devastating effect against British naval vessels, including the HMS Sheffield. The Exocet strike on the Sheffield resulted in significant damage and loss of life, highlighting the potency of this weapon in naval warfare.

Similarly, the Exocet was involved in another high-profile incident during the Iran-Iraq War in 1987. The USS Stark, a guided-missile frigate of the United States Navy, was struck by two Exocet missiles fired from an Iraqi aircraft. This attack resulted in the loss of 37 American sailors and inflicted severe damage to the vessel. These incidents underscore the Exocet’s reputation as a formidable anti-ship missile with the potential to inflict significant harm on modern naval fleets.


Damage done to the hull of the USS Stark

The Exocet:

The AM39 Exocet is a French designed subsonic, sea-skimming cruise missile designed to strike enemy vessels with precision and lethality. Featuring an active radar seeker for target acquisition and utilizing inertial guidance for mid-course navigation, the Exocet boasts impressive accuracy even in adverse weather conditions. Upon reaching its target vicinity, the Exocet switches to its onboard radar, enabling autonomous engagement of designated targets.


Bréguet Atlantique 2 firing an AM-39 Exocet

Characteristics:

  • Length: 5.8 meters (19 ft)
  • Diameter: 0.35 meters (1 ft 2 in)
  • Wingspan: 1.13 meters (3 ft 8 in)
  • Weight: 735 kilograms (1,620 lb)
  • Warhead: 165 kilograms (364 lb)
  • Range: Around 60 kilometers (38 miles)
  • Speed: Approximately Mach 0.9

With its long range and high-speed approach, the Exocet poses a significant threat to even the most modern naval vessels. Its low-altitude flight profile and advanced targeting capabilities make it a formidable weapon against enemy fleets.


What Planes Can Carry It?

Several aircraft are capable of carrying and deploying the AM39 Exocet missile. These include:

  • EC-725 helicopters (Brazil)
  • Super Etendard (France, Irak, Argentina)
  • SH-3D helicopters (Peru, Pakistan, Brazil)
  • AS-532SC helicopters (Chile)
  • Mirage-2000EG-SG3 (Greece)
  • SA-321H helicopters (Iraq)
  • Mirage F-1E (Irak)
  • SA-321GM helicopters (Libya)
  • Mirage-5 (Pakistan)
  • Commando-3 helicopters (?) (Qatar)
  • Rafale (France, Qatar, Egypt)
  • AS-332 helicopters (France, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait)
  • Mirage-50 (Venezuela)
  • Bréguet Atlantique 2 (France)

These are all “public known” planes and helicopters capable of carrying and launching exocet AM-39 missiles. Note that Pakistan was able to use the exocet with their Mirage 5 but France wasn’t because the Pakistani’s Mirage 5 were modified to feature a small radar and be able to use the Exocets.


Pakistani Mirage 5 with carrying an AM-39 Exocet

Because of the weight of the missile, some of the older planes in this list were limited in the payload capacity. Using only 1 exocet under one wing and a fuel tank under the other (Super Etendard), or placing it in the middle pylon (Mirage 5/Mirage F1E/Mirage 50). Although this is not true for the Mirage 2000, the Rafale and the Bréguet Atlantique 2.

Here is a youtube video showing some launches and hits of the missile: Exocet AM39 Air Launched Anti-ship Missile


Mirage 2000 carrying 2 AM-39 Exocet

Why Add This Missile to the Game?

The inclusion of the AM39 Exocet missile in War Thunder would add a fun anti ship missile. The threat of Exocet-equipped aircraft would necessitate enhanced situational awareness and defensive measures for ships, while providing pilots with exciting opportunities for precision strikes against high-value naval targets.

Moreover, incorporating the Exocet missile into the game aligns with War Thunder’s commitment to historical accuracy and realism. The Exocet’s significant impact on naval warfare makes it a compelling addition to the game’s arsenal of weaponry, offering players the chance to experience the thrill and intensity of anti-ship missile operations firsthand.

In game, it would be used exactly the same as the existing AS.34 Kormoran anti-ship missile, by locking the enemy vessels with the plane radar and then using its own radar to continue its way.

Sources:

9 Likes

As more and more AShM are added to the game, this will come eventually. Not only to aircraft, but to certain ships as well, such as the Albatross for Germany.

Could also add the Dassault Falcon 50 business jet, as a modified one was used by Iraq to fire two Exocets into the USS Stark.

5 Likes

Just noticed a big typo in the title it’s French Exocet AM-39 (and not AS-39) ='(

Sorry for the mistake

-1(just kidding) MUH Britain already suffers enough in this game MUHHHHHHHH

1 Like

Well yes, until you realise that the addition of exocets means british naval could have very funny things like the batch 2/3 leander class or even the batch 2 county class destroyers with 3 different types of missile.

It’s at this point where you will make them suffer.

1 Like

I like the witty title

+1 from me

1 Like

A little correction here, Perù and Brazil operates the AS39 on the Agusta ASH-3D (Italian version of the sea king) wich has many differences. Also pakistan operates the british made westland sea king (wich is, again, different compared to the american version).

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1 Like

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so apparently gaijin used the exocet for a cinematic about the falkland war, maiby it will be added some day in the future

3 Likes