MM-38 Exocet

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The MM-38 Exocet is a short-range, solid propellant, single warhead, ship-launched cruise missile developed and manufactured by France


France initially designed the Exocet ("Flying Fish" in French) family of cruise missiles to attack and destroy large warships. The MM-38 began development in 1967 as a ship-launched variant, and entered service in 1975. It is currently deployed in six-launch canisters on the helicopter carrier Jeanne D'Arc and the "Tourville" class destroyers; in four-launch canisters on the "George Leygues," "Suffren" class destroyers, and "Commandant Riviere" frigates; and in two-launch canisters on the "D'Estienne D'Orves" and "Floreal" class frigates. The MM-38 is also deployed aboard fast attack craft of various types.

The Exocet family of missiles are all the same basic shape, the only differences being the length and wing shape. The MM-38 has four delta-shaped wings at mid-body, and four delta-shaped control fins at the rear. The missile is 5.21 m long, 0.35 in body diameter, and has a launch weight of 725 kg. It is powered by a solid propellant boost rocket weighing 100 kg, and a solid propellant sustainer motor weighing 151 kg. The MM-38 has a maximum range of 40 km, and carries a high explosive
Shoot exocet mm40

Launching of an MM-38 Exocet missile

fragmentation warhead weighing 165 kg.

After its launch, the MM-38 stabilizes in the direction of its target at its first cruising altitude, low enough to avoid detection by its target yet high enough to allow its active radar seeker head to acquire the target. Midcourse guidance is by an inertial navigation system (INS) and a radio altimeter, allowing the missile to fly a sea-skimming trajectory to its target. The MM-38 descends to its second cruise altitude for the terminal phase, with a final approach at an altitude determined by prevailing sea conditions, sometimes as low as 3 m. Terminal guidance is provided by an active radar.

France has manufactured a total of 3,300 Exocet family missiles. Sources indicate that 1,260 MM-38 missiles have been built, and production is said to be complete. France has also developed a coastal defense variant designated the BC-38. The MM-38 has been offered for export, and its client states include Argentina, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Ecuador, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Iraq, Ivory Coast, South Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, the U.K., and Uruguay.


  • Country:


  • Class:


  • Target:


  • Length:

5.21 m

  • Diameter:

0.35 m

  • Launch Weight:

735.00 kg

  • Payload:

165 kg HE, fragmentation

  • Propulsion:


  • Range:

40.00 km

  • Guidance:

INS, active radar

  • Status:


  • In Service:


  • Exported:

Argentina, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Ecuador, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Iraq, Ivory Coast, South Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocc, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Sauda Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia

See alsoEdit

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