UK's new Sea Ceptor missile system worth £850 million meant to protect Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers has entered service.
“Sea Ceptor provides a shield against airborne threats, including hostile combat jets, helicopters and other missiles, and has been developed and manufactured through Ministry of Defence contracts worth around £850m,” UK MoD said in a statement Thursday.
It will be carried by the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates, and has been demonstrated through a trials and test firing campaign that started last year. Most recently, Plymouth-based HMS Montrose became the third ship to test fire the system.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said, “HMS Argyll will be the first ship to deploy with this system when it heads to support peace and security in the Asia Pacific region later this year.”
The announcement, made at the RUSI Sea Power Conference in London, follows detailed analysis of data gathered during the first of class firing trials by HMS Argyll, which took place last year. HMS Westminster and HMS Montrose, the second and third ships to be fitted with Sea Ceptor, have since also carried out successful firings.
Sea Ceptor has been designed and manufactured by MBDA as part of the Team Complex Weapons partnering agreement between MoD and MBDA.
The first firings of Sea Ceptor were conducted from HMS Argyll at the Hebrides range off the coast of Scotland and saw the system tested against a range of complex scenarios – including engaging multiple targets at once.
Sea Ceptor is an improvement on the existing Seawolf missile system which is being replaced. It offers improved performance against current and projected future threats, the ability to engage multiple targets, and allows the frigates to protect escorted vessels. The system is to be fitted to the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 frigates.
Richard Smart, Director Weapons for the MoD’s procurement organisation Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), said, “Recently, HMS Montrose took part in the third test firing of the system and successfully intercepted a fast-moving drone target. Within seconds of the missile bursting from the ship’s silo, the simulated threat was destroyed.”