The Ministry of Defence has awarded a £100m contract to deliver the Sea Ceptor air defence missile system for the new Type 26 Frigate.
The new ‘Demonstration and Manufacture’ phase contract will support additional design work and allow equipment to be manufactured to equip the entire Type 26 fleet.
According to a press release, the work will sustain around 85 jobs, including 55 at MBDA’s sites in Bristol, Stevenage and Lostock and 30 across the UK supply chain.
Companies on the supply chain include Babcock in Leicester, Churrock Engineering in Chelmsford, Quadrant in Todmorden, API in Milton Keynes, Meggitt in Stevenage and Aish in Poole.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has also confirmed the Type 26 Frigate order on the Clyde and revealed that steel will be cut in Summer. Work on building eight Type 26 frigates at Clyde shipyards will begin the summer of 2017, the defence secretary has announced.
Michael Fallon said the date for cutting the first steel would help secure new investment and safeguard hundreds of skilled jobs until 2035.
The missile system has already been selected by the Royal New Zealand Navy for use on board their Anzac class frigates, with considerable potential for additional overseas orders in the future.
Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said:
“Sea Ceptor will ensure the Royal Navy’s Type 26 Global Combat Ships are protected as they, in turn, protect the UK and her interests, keeping our nuclear deterrent submarines and the UK’s two new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers safe on operations around the globe.
Supported by our rising Defence budget and our £178 billion equipment fund, Sea Ceptor is yet another example of how the MOD investing in cutting-edge kit to help our Armed Forces meet future threats.”
Sea Ceptor is planned for use on board the Royal Navy’s current fleet of Type 23 frigates, which will eventually be replaced by Type 26, with three vessels currently being fitted with the system to allow sea trials throughout 2017.
The system offers significant improvements over previous air defence systems, such as Sea Wolf, with the ability to engage multiple targets more effectively at a longer range.
Chief Executive Officer for the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support, Tony Douglas, said:
“Sea Ceptor is the future of air defence for the Royal Navy, and it is fantastic that Defence Equipment and Support and the MOD has led from the front in its development, working with industry to provide the UK’s Armed Forces with world-leading kit.”
Sea Ceptor is due to enter service on Type 26 in the mid-2020s, and on Type 23 in 2017.