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Royal Navy destroyers to receive £500m firepower upgrade

Royal Navy destroyers to receive £500m firepower upgrade

The United Kingdom’s fleet of Type 45 destroyers are set to be enhanced with new anti-air missile systems.

The United Kingdom’s fleet of Type 45 destroyers are set to be enhanced with new anti-air missile systems.

The Ministry of Defence has awarded an 11-year contract to MBDA UK, which has been commissioned to integrate the Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) program (Sea Ceptor) into the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers’ Sea Viper weapon systems.

The upgrades are expected to enhance the lethality of the surface fleet, which currently uses a combination of short-range Aster 15 and long-range Aster 30 anti-air missiles to engage and destroy enemy threats.

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CAMM system is designed to enable accurate and effective engagement of small, fast inshore attack craft, hovering helicopters and low-speed targets, as well as traditional high-speed air targets.

To support the integration of the CAMM, a new 24-missile CAMM silo will be built in front of the current 48-missile Aster 30 silos, increasing the overall missile capacity of the destroyers by 50 per cent — a total of 72 anti-air missiles per destroyer.

A 10-year contract has also been awarded to Eurosam for the provision of a “refresh” of the Aster 30 missiles system, currently in service.

The refresh, which forms part of a tri-national sustainment and enhancement contract between the UK, France and Italy, includes investment in a dedicated UK embodiment facility at Defence Munitions in Gosport, Hampshire.

The total value of these latest contracts is estimated at approximately £500 million ($923.5 million).

The British government anticipates that the program would generate 100 highly-skilled jobs in Bristol, Stevenage, Gosport and Bolton.

“Enhancing our destroyer capabilities, this investment reaffirms our commitment to equip the Royal Navy with the most advanced and powerful defensive systems,” Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin said.

“This upgrade ensures the Type 45 remains hugely respected by naval fleets across the globe and secures highly-skilled jobs and investment.”

Royal Navy Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd CBE noted the firepower capability benefits of the upgrades.

“These programs will provide an exceptional capability to the front line, ensuring the RN remains poised to defend the surface fleet, and most importantly the Carrier Strike Group, against complex air threats both now and into the future,” he said.

DE&S CEO Sir Simon Bollom added: “The introduction of the UK produced CAMM missile in conjunction with the current Aster 30 missile will provide the Type 45 with a significant uplift in anti-air capability into the future as the Type 45 delivers the backbone of air defence to the Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group. This is the British government’s latest investment in missile technology.”

Last week, the Defence Science Technology Laboratory (DSTL) secured £3.5 million ($6.4 million) in funding from the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) to support its Co-operative Strike Weapons Technology Demonstrator (CSWTD) project.

The DSTL-led project aims to improve the flexibility and responsiveness of missile systems by enhancing interoperability between systems through software upgrades, ensuring they can adapt to changes in the battlespace.

The funding, which forms part of a broader £6.6 billion ($12.1 billion) investment in defence research and development, is expected to support the delivery of future co-operative missiles, including hardware and software, while also providing systems studies informing the use of co-operative missiles in operational scenarios.

[Related: UK MOD backs development of ‘smarter’ missile systems]

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