The Royal Navy will arm surface vessels with land attack missiles.
In a speech that can be read here, First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin said:
“The surface fleet will be armed with the latest weaponry and harness the latest technology including land attack and supersonic missiles for the surface fleet. Sea Viper air defence missiles will be upgraded and their stockpiles increased. And investment in Wildcat and Merlin helicopters will continue.”
Presumably this means that the Type 26 Frigate, which is to be fitted with the Mark 41 Vertical Launching System, will feature such missiles.
The Type 26, or City class, will be equipped with the Type 997 Artisan 3D search radar and Sea Ceptor air-defence missiles launched via a 48 cell vertical launching system positioned. The Sea Ceptor silo’s will be positioned on the bow and at the funnel of the vessel. An additional 24-cell Mark 41 “strike-length VLS” is positioned forward of the bridge capable of firing missiles such as the Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile or indeed a future anti-ship/cruise missile.
Currently, the Royal Navy has only the option of submarine-launched Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles.
Could this be SSGW?
The Ministry of Defence had last year notified bidders of its intention to purchase an interim anti-ship missile as current Harpoon stocks reach end of life and a replacement not being due until 2030.
The Ministry of Defence issued a Prior Information Notice (PIN) for a “Next Generation Surface Ship Guided Weapon (SSGW)” to equip Royal Navy vessels.
The notice is as follows:
“Short description of nature and scope of works or nature and quantity or value of supplies or services:
The Authority has a possible future requirement to procure a next generation ship launched anti-ship weapon system for use within training and operational roles with the Royal Navy. First delivery of the ship installed equipment would be required by December 2022 and first delivery of missiles would be required by December 2023. The potential contract will be for 4 years, with the potential of option years to follow (up to 9 more years), the potential contract would cover the following activities:
Manufacture and delivery of the weapon system to be delivered in Financial Year 2023/2024.
Installation of the weapon system onto Royal Navy ships. Provision and support of interface requirements to assist ships installation. Provision of train the trainer courses. Maintenance and technical support for the operational upkeep of the weapon system. Should this requirement proceed, a Contract Notice will be published in due course with more precise requirements and interested parties will be invited to complete an online pre-qualification questionnaire, which will be measured against selected criteria in terms of commercial and technical requirements.”
When Harpoon exits service in 2023 there will be a serious capability gap until the potential entry into service of FC/ASW programme in 2030 if this does not happen, warned a report published by the Defence Committee.