The French Navy’s Horizon class air defense frigate, Forbin, successfully engaged a supersonic target simulating an anti-ship missile flying at very low altitude, the French Ministry of Defense said.

The target was launched from the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) missile test center based on the Ile du Levant in the south of France and intercepted in flight by the Forbin’s Aster 30 system. Another French Navy Horizon frigate, the Chevalier Paul, tracked the target and the missiles fired, a statement from European missile-maker MBDA said.

MBDA produces the Aster 30 missile. MBDA is jointly held by BAE Systems with 37.5 percent, European Defence and Space Co. (EADS) with 37.5 percent and Finmeccanica with 25 percent. MBDA Inc. is the wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary.

This April 4 test, carried out in conjunction with the DGA, confirmed the Navy’s ability to assure the protection of armed forces at sea, carrier and amphibious battle groups, against the most severe of anti-ship missile threats.

In addition, the test marks a first for Europe with the two frigates being prepared for and then successfully carrying out a complex operational scenario, confronting a supersonic threat flying at sea-skimming altitude, the statement said.

The Forbin and Chevalier Paul frigates, equipped with the PAAMS system deploying Aster 30 and Aster 15 missiles, were active notably during the Agapanthe deployment in the Indian Ocean between October 2010 and February 2011 and then during Operation Harmattan. Deployed off the Libyan coast, they provided protection for naval groups linked to the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier as well as for the LHDs Tonnerre and Mistral. They also carried out coastal fire support operations and coordinated air activity for the coalition operating off the coast of Libya, a mission known as “Red Crown.”