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Exocet = Flying fish[edit]

Can anyone confirm that this thing was named after the Exocoetidae, the flying fish family? If so it would be nice to make the link. --seglea 05:35, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

In a way; "exocet" is actually one of the common French words for flying fish, according to this info-nugget from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (part of their List of Canadian Acceptable Common Names for Fish and Seafood). --Wernher 21:03, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)


The Patents Office have no ability to require inventions to be kept secret. A patent is a form of legal protection against copying, not a reservoir of secrets.GraemeLeggett 12:45, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)

The UK Patent Office does have the power under Section 22 of the UK Patents Act 1977 to prohibit or restrict the publication of information prejudicial to the defence of the UK.

Is Exocet really the "Gabriel"?[edit]

Israeli sources state that the Exocet is not a French design at all, but merely a licensed copy of their highly successful Gabriel ship-to-ship missile, first used in combat in 1973. I can understand the French reluctance to admit this -- after all, they tried to abort the Gabriel by embargoing the ships intended to carry it. It should be noted that the Exocet was introduced shortly after the the Gabriel was developed.

Never heard such a thing... The Gabriel III does look a little bit like the Exocet (similar wings), but it entered service in 1982, while the Exocet was designed in 1967. The earlier versions of the Gabriel were quite different [1]. The Gabriel was one of the first sea-to-sea missiles, so perhaps this is what they mean, but licenced copy doesn't seam very plausible to me. Rama 06:59, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

I saw this mention of the "fact" and was about to remove it myself on to spot somebody actually managed to edit out this false information and that is all good.

just by looking the pictures you can see the two weapons totally different not to mention the technical details. And the claim that exocet is israeli tech is nothing but a pipedream of immature zionists.

Gentleman. This is an article about a weapon, not politics, etc. FYI, the first Gabriel were radio controlled to line of sight. A lot like modern wire guided antitank missiles. Only the data wire link is a radio data link and the optical line of sight is a radar. Also, the Gabriel would be manually controlled through the radio link like an R/C aircraft. The Exocet was a different kettle of fish. It was launched with a location programmed in it to fly to before launch and when it reaches that "X" its radar turns on for the final attack phase. To wit, where human control is over the Gabriel from launch to impact, with the Exocet, once it was launched, the human touch was devoid. Jack --Jackehammond (talk) 06:02, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

"Accidentally" attacking the USS Stark[edit]

Can I just point out that the possibility of mistaking a frigate for an oil tankers are slim to none, or if the pilot of the plane in question was acting outside of orders then could someone please rephrase "On March 17, 1987, an Iraqi Mirage F-1 accidentally fired two exocets against the US Navy Guided missile frigate USS Stark (FFG-31) (an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate), mistaking the vessel for an Iranian tanker", as this still implies that the plane was under Iraqi control.

Well, the possibility of mistaking an Airbus A300 at high altitude for an attacking F14 is even more slim, but it also appened (Iran Air Flight 655) in that region. And 1904 a Russian fleet fired at fisher boats in the North Sea because they thought being under attack of Japanese torpedo boats (Dogger Bank incident). Such things happen. - Alureiter 13:07, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

Radar cross sections are not the same as what the human eye can see. You can take two pieces of steel as tall as a man and a yard wide and notch them half-way up and slide them together and a radar will think it is a tanker. The USAF and other air forces have glide decoys that have an item in the nose the size of a softball which is so efficient in reflection of radar waves that it makes a small drone look like a B-52. Again, as slab sided as the Stark was, it was very easy to mistaken for a tanker. Also, tankers at that time were being fitted with primitive radar absorbing material (ie a type of paint the Germans developed in WW2 for submarine periscopes and snorkels) and when fully loaded are low in the water with only about two yards of the hull above the ocean surface. Jack --Jackehammond (talk) 06:08, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

electronical countermeasures[edit]

Towards the bottom of the 'history' section of the article, regarding the falklands war, the following line appears:

Claims that the French gave out the electronical countermeasures to the British has been made, so they could trick the robot. But this hasn´t been vertified.

It is not very clear to me what is meant by this sentance. What are the electrionical countermeasures? and what is the robot? Canderra 16:44, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Label graphic?[edit]

Would it be possible to label the graphic showing what I assume is three different versions of the Exocet? Perhaps breaking it up into three separate images would be advisible.


exploded or not?[edit]

The one hit Sheffield failed to explode? or laterly be detonated by the fire? Could anyone show me the relative evidence ? 16:12, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm editting it to say the exocet exploded: the book The Battle for the Falklands by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins says that those interviewed who were aboard HMS Sheffield believe the warhead exploded, and so did other members of the task force, though the official navy report believes it may not have. The authors leaned towards detonation, as would I: the impact was textbook, and caused a massive fire, surely the explosive in the weapon would explode when exposed to so much heat, at the least, but nobody reports secondary explosions. Biscuit Knight 11:02, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

I would ask the question: did the crew of the Sheffield understand how an exocet works? Also was the impact textbook? Remember exocet is designed to puncture the ship's hull and detonate inside the ship, it does not detonate on impact, as some people think, as it has a delay proximity fuse. Crew members of Glamorgan, (the only RN ship to survive an exocet missile attack) reported hearing a loud thud, as the missile hit the ship, followed by an explosion, the warhead detonating as the delay proximity fuse winds down, and a secondary explosion when the missile, after penetrating the hangar door causes a fully fueled and armed Wessex helicopter to explode. So there were three defined events. The crew of Sheffield only reported one event, the thud as the missile hit the side of the ship. Modern exposives require a detonator to make them explode. Otherwise the fire raged inside the ship caused by burning propellant from the rocket motor, ignited diesel from a severed fuel line causing black acrid smoke to penetrate the forward part of the ship. The whole position was exacerbated with non fire retardant materials being used in construction, PVC cable sheaths on power cables, paint, which added fuel to the number of fires starting. With no firemain available the ship was doomed to a raging inferno which arguably burnt itself out some 4.5 days later. Remember the ship sank whilst undertow by Yarmouth in the TEZ, in rough seas, with water ingressing through the hole in the ships starboard side caused by the missile.Aquizard 23:50, 09 June 2010 (UTC)

British Disabling of the Exocet?[edit]

Should the claim that Margaret Thatcher obtained the self-destruct codes from the French be included?

Margaret Thatcher forced François Mitterrand to give her the codes to disable Argentina's deadly French-made missiles during the Falklands war by threatening to launch a nuclear warhead against Buenos Aires, according to a book.

Thatcher 'threatened to nuke Argentina'

Mcspiff 13:33, 23 July 2006 (UTC)


The above is all nonsense. There is no such thing as a self destruct codes on any production military missiles in existence now, or that have ever existed. What on earth could would possess a nation like France (or any other country) to include a kill switch that could be used by the enemy to completely neutralize their most significant technological advantage by simply broadcasting a code? Moreover, how could a nation hope to sell the Exocet if other nations found out the missile had this liability? Furthermore, we know it never existed because three British task force ships were sunk with just five missiles, including one ship that was carrying all their Chinooks and a dozen Wessex (very badly needed to transport men and material in the war).

On top of that, the British already had dozens of Exocets, and they therefore knew its radar's frequency. The UK was the first country in the world to develop operational radar. They were, and are, experts. As far as I know, the only citation that has ever been given for this claim that the French gave *the codes* was the psychoanalyst of a long dead blow hard politician, and this very dubious evidence when all the facts surrounding are adduced. CE2605:6000:EE87:D800:887E:1059:B5BF:A4D0 (talk) 15:04, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

NPOV and general quality problems[edit]

1. Argentina ridiculously claimed that a combined Exocet/A-4C Skyhawk aircraft attack on May 30 damaged HMS Invincible; the British didn't need to deny it.

To someone who isn't British this smacks of clear POV. It's also unclear - is it the combination that is unlikely, or is it something to do with the ship itself? It wasn't there, wasn't manufactured yet, etc.

2. There are persistent claims from Israeli sources, vigorously denied by the French, that the Exocet is not an original French design but a licensed copy of the Israeli Gabriel sea to sea missile.

I would imagine these were 'vigorously denied'. Wikipedia's policy requires sourcing of claims - this is unsourced and should be removed.

3. Secrecy of the Exocet suffered a blow in the late 1970s when a civilian in Falmouth in Cornwall, England accidentally independently duplicated the Exocet’s navigation system and, despite order from the Patents Office to keep it secret, sold it to the public as a small boat type navigation system called Lokata.

This is also unclear and unsourced. Why should a missile have a navigation system? I can think of several ideas but it isn't self evident. In any case it should probably be 'accidentally AND independently'.

4. Overall, this article appears less polished and more coloquial than other missile articles. It also feels as if it were written by a Brit with a specific POV. It's an interesting read and I can't find anything else to improve other than the above, I'm still left with an nagging itch... 16:08, 11 November 2006 (UTC)Roy

The 30 May attack was carried out by a combined Etendard/Skyhawk combination, with one Etendard carring the last (fifth) AM39 Exocet missile. Exocet, is a fire and forget antiship cruise missile. Most Guided Missiles have a system of guidance, this can be via radar, radio, wire, or an internal navigation system (INS). Exocet has an INS which is gyroscopically aligned, for the flight phase, and an internal radar seeker head, for the terminal phase. The Etendard has an AGAVE radar, weapons system and computerised navigational system. All of these systems must communicate with each other, which is why additional avionics is inserted into the aircraft, to enable the interfacing to be complete. Prior to launching a missile, data transfers take place with the pilot programming the missiles INS with data from the AGAVE radar illuminating the target on the radar screen, programming the data input to the missile from the weapons system, and navigational system. On release, the INS flies the missile to a designated location, the radar seeker head then turns on and looks for a target and locks onto it. Aquizard 23:50, 09 June 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

CIA providing exocets[edit]

The claim that the CIA provided Exocets to the Iraqis sounds a bit odd. After all, they didn't need the CIA, they could buy them from the French with no problem at all, as far as I know KostasG 23:07, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

It's not "a bit odd" - it is completely and totally absurd! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:57, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one article was rated and this bot brought all the other ratings up to at least that level. BetacommandBot 03:14, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Exocet as obsolete?[edit]

"In many cases, the near-obsolete Exocet missiles have been replaced by more modern and updatable ship to ship missiles such as the American Harpoon Missile on newer warships, including those in the Royal Navy."

Can anyone give specifics to prove this? Both the Exocet and Harpoon (as well as other missiles) have long operational histories and have been updated by the introduction of new versions with improved performance over the years (for example, the ranges of newer Exocet and Harpoon missile have both been marked increased, and both missiles have received electronic/guidance enhancements). Specifically, one cannot compare the newer Harpoons that the UK is receiving to older Exocets in its inventory (or vice versa) and claim that the Exocet is obsolete.

Also, the Exocet (and most tactical missiles) are very "updatable", as proven by the many versions of this (and other missiles). For example, the latest versions of the Sidewinder are still in service in the U.S. and many other countries.

If not, I will remove the above paragraph.

15:45 & 15:46, 26 September 2009 User:
Good call. Ryan4314 (talk) 13:27, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
After the Falklands war the Royal Navy could not buy any more Exocets for political reasons. Therefore they shifted to buying American made Harpoon missiles at a higher cost for all new vessels. There may have been a technical advantages but they were alwasy described in public sources as less important. (talk) 19:01, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Cobblers, the RN switched to Harpoon as they were cheaper, the installtion lighter (a key consideration on the Type 23), range longer and they had more reliable fuzing. Wee Curry Monster talk 20:41, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Regarding effects against aircraft carriers[edit]

I feel that the text "contrary to some claims it is no serious threat to large warships, like aircraft carriers" is probably misleading for the vast amount of readers encountering this claim. If this serious threat is supposed to be understood to mean "effective enough to sink an aircraft carrier", i think it need to be pointed out that a direct hit from an Exocet on an aicraft carrier, at least for the smaller non-supercarrier classes like the Invincible class aircraft carrier or the Principe de Asturias (R11), is likely to at least adversely affect the combat power of the ship.

The information that is used to motivate the "no serious threat" claim is supposed to be "a recent study by the Russians about the effect of missile boat antishipping missiles. 3 hits to destroy a light cruiser, 1 to 2 hits for a destroyer or frigate. Russian missile boat antishipping missile have far larger warheads than the Exocet", the information taken from the refernce book World Naval Weapon Systems from 1994 by Norman Friedman. I've checked this source up, and the source talks about destroying a ship in the sense of sinking it and the missile in question is the SS-N-2 Styx. In other words, the information from this source does not preclude a hit from an Exocet having a big effect on the combat effectivness on a ship. It is easy to see how for instance a hit on the island, on any carrier, will destroy most of the sensor systems, leaving the carrier blind. It is also easy to see that a large part of all possible hits are likely to adversely affect air operations at least for a time. And if the carrier can't launch planes, the combat effectiveness of the ship is close to zero. Thus, it is not at all unlikely that a hit will in effect negate the whole combat power of the ship. In other words it is a at least a serious threat to the combat effectiveness of carriers (If perhaps not a serious threat to the carriers themselves).

But, all the above conclusions is based on the premise that the attack consists of a single missile. The claim in the article that the Exocet is no serious threat to an aircraft carrier is probably meant to say that a single Exocet is no serious threat to an aircraft carrier, which would follow from the Russian source. However, as the text stands now, one gets the impression that the weapon system Exocet is no serious threat to an aircraft carrier. But, nowhere a source is cited, neither have i ever heard about such a source, that claims that for instance four or five simultaneous Exocet hits would pose no serious threat to a carrier. Indeed, the russian study gives some support to the notion that with an increasing number of missiles, you could sink most types of ships. With saturation attacks becoming common doctrine for many navies, it is likely that any attack on an aircraft carrier would involve at least a couple of missiles. I think most will agree that for instance four simultaneous hits near the waterline would bring a huge risk to a small carrier (Remember that the Principe de Asturias is only a bit shy of 200 meters long, probably not much larger than the "light cruiser" that the russian study is talking about), even if the warheads in the missiles are smaller than russian AShMs. So, the fact of the matter seems to be that the weapon system Exocet, which is what the article is about, poses a large and extremely dangerous threat to any carrier, especially smaller ones.

Also remember, that the russian study had to have been performed well before 1994, which was the publication date of the book it is cited from, and the missile was the SS-N-2 Styx, one of the earliest and most primitive AShMs. I would be surprised if the Exocet, in it's current and most modern form, Block III, isn't one hell of a lot more likely to hit it's target (Thus a larger threat) than a missile of the late 1980s/early 1990s. The SS-N-2 Styx didn't even have sea-skimming capability at first (Don' know about later versions)and flew at about 100 meters height. The Exocet, which is meant to hit a ship low, near the weaterline, would probably be more dangerous (eg more likely to sink a ship because of the low hit) in this sense also.

I can't reach any conclusion but that the text has to be changed from it's present form. I'm going to change the article and write something along the lines that a single exocet poses no serious threat to an aircraft carrier, however it is likely to render the carrier combat ineffective, but a few missiles are likely to sink most, even larger, ships. Comments appreciated. --MusicToDieTo (talk) 17:57, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Sir I was the one that put the reference in. There are many others in the decade after the Falklands War ended, but I would spend a week going through my magazine and books to find them. This issue was an extreme debate after the Falklands War, with many claiming that most navies were out-dated because a 50 ton missile boat could sink almost any warship. The sales people of Aerospatiale contributed a lot to it. It was a lot like the claims after the 1973 War that the wire guided missile on jeeps and pick up trucks had made tanks obsolete. It is something I will try and get back with you soon. But ask yourself one question: Why after WW1 did the armored light cruiser become less and less important and totally unarmored destroyer so important? Has a lot to do with why full body armor became less and less used after the 16th century.--Jackehammond (talk) 10:41, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

This bit stood out - the original wording implied that it couldn't even hit larger vessels, and the claim that it posed no serious threat to aircraft carriers and so forth seemed oddly worded. Nonetheless I can understand the point that was being made - the missile is not a magic death-bolt that can crack a battleship in two - and I've tried to rewrite the line so as to get that across. The description of a detonating but not fatal-to-the-ship hit on the Glamorgan helps get this across as well. -Ashley Pomeroy (talk) 22:19, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Is that a super etendart on the first picture or a mirage III ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:37, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Argentine Navy Super Etendard. Probably one of the aircraft of the Falkland's War. What is interesting in that photo is the laser-designation pod. Jack --Jackehammond (talk) 06:13, 24 April 2010 (UTC)


Can someone explain the {{Refimprove|date=June 2008}} on the lead affecting the whole article ?

Was added by MiliHist co-ordinator, admin and all-around decent guy, MBK004, here, would be best to ask his permission before removing it? Ryan4314 (talk) 20:45, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

File:Exocet ITB.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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