The first firings of the new Sea Ceptor air defence system have been successfully conducted in a major milestone for the Royal Navy, Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin announced today.
The Minister visited defence company MBDA’s site in Filton, near Bristol, meeting with local graduates, apprentices and other employees working on the Sea Ceptor system.
The new air missile defence system can intercept and destroy enemy missiles travelling at supersonic speeds and will form part of the protection for the nation’s new aircraft carriers. The first firings were conducted from Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll whilst off the coast of Scotland.
Sea Ceptor, which uses MBDA’s next-generation Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM), is being fitted to replace the Sea Wolf weapon system on the Type 23 frigates. The air defence system will also be used on the new Type 26 frigates and Land Ceptor, which will replace Rapier for the British Army.
Using innovations in radar and datalink technology that will guide these potent missiles with pinpoint accuracy, Sea Ceptor will provide the Royal Navy with an improved shield against airborne threats such as the new generation of supersonic anti-ship missiles, fast jets, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.
HMS Argyll will conduct further firing trials of the Sea Ceptor system before she deploys to Japan next year. Alongside providing robust self-defence, importantly Sea Ceptor defends escort vessels within a maritime task group, such as for the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.
The system uses a new UK-developed missile capable of reaching speeds of up to Mach 3 and will have the ability to deal with multiple targets simultaneously, protecting an area of around 500 square miles (1,300 square kilometres) over land or sea.