AS 15 TT
|Place of origin||France|
|In service||1985 -|
|Used by||Saudi Arabia|
|Engine||Two SNPE Anubis CMDB booster and an SNPE Acis CDB sustainer motor|
|Radar command guided|
In the 1970s two Aérospatiale programs were started to examine potential replacements for the AS.12 missile. These were the radar guided AS 15 TT and the wire guided AM 10 LASSO (Light anti-surface semi-automatic optical) which were both publicly revealed in the in 1976 and 1977 respectively. Development of the AM 10 was halted in 1978 when it became apparent that the optically tracked missile had less potential than the radar-guided one.
The first live firing was conducted in 1981. Helicopter integration began in 1982 and was completed in the second half of 1983. Development was completed in June 1985.
A ship launched version of the missile, designated MM 15 was shown at the 1984 Farnborough Air Show, and later the 1992 Singapore air show, firing trails were reportedly conducted in 1993. A coastal defense version of the missile has also been offered by Aérospatiale.
The missile consists of a long cylindrical main body with a pointed nose. The missile has four fins arranged in a cruciform cross-section. Each fin has a pod on the tip containing either a radar receiver or a battery. From front to back the missile consists of the warhead and impact fuse and safety and arming mechanism. Next is the autopilot (EOP), altimeter, gyro and radar receiver and a battery. Following that is the SNPE Acis CDB solid rocket sustainer motor, which exhausts through a small central nozzle. Behind the sustainer are the two solid rocket SNPE Anubis CMDB booster motors, which exhaust through two large nozzles. On the rear underside of the missile is a radar altimeter. On the rear of the missile are four inline control fins.
When the Thomson-CSF I/J-band radar Agrion 15 detects and identifies a suitable target it switches to automatic tracking mode. Once the target is inside the missiles range it launches, the booster motors accelerate the missile to its cruise speed of 280 meters per second, after which the sustainer motor cuts in. The missile immediately begins descending to an altitude of around 15 meters. The rocket motors have a combined burn time of around 45 seconds.
Bearing corrections are transmitted to the missile via the Agrion 15 radar and are picked up by the rearward-facing receiver units in two of the wing pods. The directional nature of the receivers makes jamming the command link difficult. On final approach to the target, the missile descends to an altitude of around two meters.
The Agrion 15 radar is capable of detecting a large ship at a range of 150 km and a smaller attack boat at a range of 100 km.
The missile entered service with Saudi Arabia in 1985, and 365 of the missiles were ordered.
The AS-15TT missile was relatively similar to the British Sea Skua missile; both were meant to replace the AS-12, both were very small anti-ship missiles, and up to four examples were used with small helicopters (Lynx and Dauphin). The AS-15TT, with a characteristic red colour (Sea Skua was often white), was, in comparison to the British rival, smaller, slimmer, lighter and with a different type of guidance. However, unlike Sea Skua, its only guidance was by the Agrion 15 radar, without the flexibility of the other system, and was therefore less successful in the market. Both the missiles were also offered unsuccessfully as surface-surface models (the Kuwaiti Navy being the only operator of either missile in the surface-to-surface role, using Sea Skuas aboard its fast attack craft).
Sea Skua also had the advantage of being 'combat proven' (Falklands) and in service with the Royal Navy, while the French Navy did not have it in service, so it was produced apparently only for Saudi Arabia.
- Duncan Lennox. Jane's Air-Launched Weapons, Issue Thirty Six.
- Fischer, Johann, Sea Skua, the hurricane from the Sea, RiD Magazine, Genova, march 1993 p.70-71