The British Royal Navy successfully completed qualification firings of the Sea Ceptor air defense system, the last First of Class firing trials for the new system, builder MBDA said Dec. 20.
The Royal Navy and MBDA are developing the Sea Ceptor to provide air defense for the upcoming Type 26 Global Combat Ship (GCS) frigate and other nearby ships. The system is aimed at intercepting airborne threats like sea-skimming anti-ship missiles, fast jets, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
The UK Ministry of Defense awarded MBDA a $125.5 10-year contract in late 2016 to demonstrate and manufacture the Sea Ceptor system for the Type 26 frigate.
The Sea Ceptor is set to replace the Sea Wolf weapon system on the Type 23 frigates during their life-extension program. MBDA highlighted that while the Sea Wolf could protest the basing vessel, the Sea Ceptor will be able to protect a group of ships.
The system uses the Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) as its interceptor missile, which doubles the range of the Sea Wolf and can engage targets using an active-radar seeker rather than target illuminators.
The Sea Ceptor underwent its first live fire test trials in September on the HMS Argyll Type 23 frigate, the first frigate of its type to undergo the life-extension program.
This second and latest round of trials had the Sea Ceptor tested on more complex situations like rapidly engaging multiple simultaneous threats.
After these two rounds, the HMS Argyll has finished development testing of the air defense system and it will now be added to other Type 23 frigates, MBDA said.
The Royal Navy also completed the first of a series of installation test firings onboard the HMS Westminster. Each Sea Ceptor is to undergo installation test firings as part of the refit process.
“The performance and capabilities of Sea Ceptor have been fully demonstrated in these outstanding trials by the Royal Navy. Recognizing the complexity of the new system, the consistent level of success achieved is quite remarkable and testament to the quality of MBDA’s verification and validation process,” Nick Neale, MBDA Sea Ceptor program manager, said in a statement after the trials.
The CAMM is also being used as the weapon part of the Land Ceptor system, set to replace the British Army’s Rapier ground-based air defense system.