HMS Diamond, a Type 45 Destroyer, is showing visual signs of her recent and intensive combat action against Houthi drones and missiles.

Images released by the Royal Navy show the scorch marks on the warship’s vertical launch silo after the vessel fired numerous Aster missiles.

The following images show the area in detail.

And this is the above zoomed out.

The Type 45 Destroyers, also known as Daring-class destroyers, are specifically designed around the Sea Viper (PAAMS) air-defence system. Each Type 45 destroyer is equipped with a 48-cell A50 Sylver Vertical Launching System. This system is designed to accommodate a mix of up to 48 Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles.

What actually is Sea Viper?

The Sea Viper air-defence system, an advanced missile system deployed by the Royal Navy. Known formally as the Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS), it was developed as a joint venture by France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. The system is a cornerstone of the Royal Navy’s air defence capability.

The genesis of the Sea Viper dates back to the late 1990s, as part of the collaborative effort for the ‘Common New Generation Frigate’ programme, initially encompassing the UK, France, and Italy. After disagreements, the UK departed from the frigate project but continued its commitment to the PAAMS initiative. This led to the creation of a variant specifically for the UK’s naval needs, culminating in the Sea Viper system.

Sea Viper – A guide to the missile protecting the Red Sea

Components of Sea Viper

  1. Missiles: The system employs the Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles, known for their precision and long-range capabilities, more on those below.
  2. SAMPSON Multi-Function Radar: A key component of the PAAMS(S) variant, offering exceptional target tracking and engagement capabilities.
  3. Sylver Vertical Launching System: This allows for rapid and versatile missile deployment, crucial for responding to fast-moving aerial threats.
  4. S1850M Long-Range Radar: Provides early warning and tracking of potential threats at extended ranges.

The Sea Viper system employs the Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles.

  • Aster 15: Weighing 310 kg and measuring 4.2 metres in length, with a diameter of 180 mm. It has a 15 kg focused fragmented warhead and a lethal radius of 2 metres. The missile is powered by a solid propellant, two-stage motor, and can reach above 30 km with a flight altitude of 13 km, achieving speeds of Mach 3.
  • Aster 30: Slightly larger, this variant weighs 450 kg and measures 4.9 metres, maintaining the same diameter. It boasts an operational range above 120 km (150 km for the Block 1 NT variant) and a flight altitude of 20 km, with maximum speeds of Mach 4.5.

Both variants use an inertial guidance system with an up-link and an active RF seeker for precise target acquisition and engagement. Their design allows for high agility and precision, making them exceptionally effective against a range of high-performance air threats.

Avatar photo
George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

74 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Frank
Frank
16 days ago

I hate to be the first to comment but…. Well done HMS Diamond, well done to your crew and well done to all who gave the RN this capability.

Rfn_Weston
Rfn_Weston
16 days ago
Reply to  Frank

Seconded.

But I’m guessing because of the treasury the magazine was half empty. Kind of fair enough for peacetime patrols, as I guess it allows empty launch tubes between live missiles in the event of any mishaps.

But when a short notice bun fight kicks off, you’re left bugging out potentially earlier than planned… I bet there was a few nervous laughs happening in the ships op’s room. Another big swarm and squeaky bum time.

I do wonder how many she had left before T23 arrived on station to relive her.

Politicians should wake up. Yesterday.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
16 days ago
Reply to  Rfn_Weston

Maybe Or maybe she was firing A15 for her own defence and A30 to interdict attacks on more remote ships? But I’m all for a stronger blend of coffee being brewed in No10 and Treasury. The misunderstanding is that 2% of GDP is a useful metric – it isn’t. As it is really 1.45% once nuclear and pensions are removed. So it needs to be 2.75% to allow for the last 20 years of near nil investment to fill the hole in. That is why other get ‘better value’ that we do. The difference of 3/4% would be enormous as… Read more »

rst 2001
rst 2001
16 days ago

1.45 % conventional budget explains alot. A quick check on a govt website suggest its 3 billion pounds 2023 for yearly running costs on our nuclear deterrent , 6 percent of annual budget . Doesn’t include research I dont think .
Was it David cameron 🤔 that combined the nuclear and conventional budgets

ChrisLondon
ChrisLondon
16 days ago
Reply to  rst 2001

I think that is just the running costs and then you have a massive bill for replacement every 20-25 years. For us that is coming up over the next ten years.

I think really it should always have been part of the defence budget but agree the way it was quietly moved in was a stealth cut.

Pensions are another issue. Some countries have very good basic pensions, employer top up are rare there. I think of the big spenders only UK and USA count pensions in.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
16 days ago
Reply to  ChrisLondon

Mmm it isn’t coming up in the next 10 years at all, we are Smack in the middle of the cost curve. Dreadnought is in the DH being assembled and the costs go right back to Concept, detail design, Long Lead items, steel,work etc etc.
It’s @15 years from start to the launch of first boat and costs peak at about that point. Right now we are also on the long road to SSN(R) which will follow the Dresdnoughts in build.

Joe16
Joe16
16 days ago
Reply to  rst 2001

They’ve always been a part of the defence budget, since the 60s- it’s a random claim from one Guardian article that says otherwise. If you look on the commons website, they’ve got a report confirming it.
The big difference was that the defence budget was far bigger at the time, and on one occasion Treasury gave the MOD a bit extra to cover the procurement.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
15 days ago
Reply to  rst 2001

Yes it was Cameron and Osbourne thinking themselves immensely clever with their “creative accounting” which is now causing the UK all kinds of trouble. The government can stand in front of NATO partners and proudly declare they are spending 2% on defence but the reality is much much less.
I hate these kinds of money men schemes. The political class think they are clever with their spin but anyone with half a brain cell can see through the fudge.

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
12 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Osborne a serial offender in HM Treasury and this one of his most egregious tricks.
Wouldn’t cross the street to put him out if I saw him on fire.

DaveyB
DaveyB
16 days ago

This has been in my opinion a major failing of the Opposition bench. They should have been bringing the Government to task on this for years and called them out for using the realistic figure of 1.45%. Instead they have sat fat, dumb and happy doing next to feck all!

Perhaps if enough of us start saying 1.45%, then it will spread to other forums and news outlets. I mean, if the UK Defence Journal can be used as a reference for the Defence Select Committee, who knows?

Patrick
Patrick
16 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

The opposition won’t do this, because they haven’t stated they would significantly up defence spending.Labour has only said they will initiate a defence review.

Steve
Steve
16 days ago

Are you saying that the nuclear deterent isn’t part of our defense spending, I would say its a key part of it.

I was doing some reading and the whole moving into defence budget is a bit of smoke and mirrors. Even when it was outside it was part of the nato official target figures. For whatever reason the various governments just decided to cap spending to the target rather than base spending on requirements. As such moving it really had no impact on anything.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve

It is a vital part if it.

Just when it is included.

But there is a massive error in saying because we have nuclear we don’t need conventional deterrence.

Lack of conventional deterrence makes nuclear more likely.

Steve
Steve
16 days ago

But that’s the point it always was included in the official data.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Are you trying to say 1.45% conventional defence is enough? If you are then expect ever more cuts. 2.75% is the minimum funding you are going to achieve any kind of rebuilding of capability. It is all very well hand wringing about number of RAF frames when there is £500m / yr investment budget (6 frames) if you increase that to £800 you end up with a growth curve (average 9.5 frames per year). Different story. That assumes the head office headcount remains the same. Similarly if you increase navy investment then having a 24 ship fleet with the support… Read more »

Steve
Steve
16 days ago

No I’m not saying that, I’m saying progressive governments have become obsessed with the nato level and the move of trident / replacement into the core budget had zero effect on whete we are now.

I think linking to gdp is nonsense, link it to capability or capability, not some random number that has very little to do with actual tax returns and so spending power of the government or on capability to fight wars.

Last edited 16 days ago by Steve
Andrew D
Andrew D
15 days ago

Reading yesterday Poland do 4% on Defence ,like UK did in the cold war ,I know the UK economy isn’t in a good place but think this is we’re we need to be to be honest .The world is in such a bad place 🇬🇧

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
15 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Can we afford not to?

It would be very hard to go from 2.25% to 4%.

IRL you are talking about going from 1.45% to 3.4% so more than doubling the conventional spend.

I don’t think industry could respond to that very fast.

Yes, increase wages and retention bonuses for key trades.

Fix services housing. It would be cheaper to bulldoze and rebuild a lot of it.

Yes, throw 5x on recruitment.

Put RFA back on the BP wages benchmark and see how fast the trades fill up.

Andrew D
Andrew D
15 days ago

👍 🍺

Tommo
Tommo
16 days ago
Reply to  Rfn_Weston

Yes the Telegraph had a piece on this with Treadmills and Cycles in the mag with a union Flag adorning the bulkhead it was being used as an on-board Gym not what it was designed for

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
16 days ago
Reply to  Rfn_Weston

Maybe this will prompt them to aim for more than 24 CAMM and replace the 30mm with 40mm and even the 4.5″?

Andrew D
Andrew D
15 days ago
Reply to  Rfn_Weston

In today’s world think would be best if RN go out fully Armed ,and for our politicians don’t think they will ever wake up ⏰ or be it to late . Cheers 🍺

david anthony simpson
david anthony simpson
14 days ago
Reply to  Rfn_Weston

Stop guessing…the RN will have deployed this ship fully loaded into this key operational theatre

Ben
Ben
16 days ago

By my count thats 11 missiles fired (might be wrong). Even against what essentially amounts to a militia (albeit we a well funded one), with the support of allies, she was forced to fire over 20% of her missiles. Sea Ceptor can’t come soon enough.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
16 days ago
Reply to  Ben

Ok I made it 10 fired but we are clearly counting the same marks!

Interesting what you can deduce from a simple photo!

DaveyB
DaveyB
16 days ago

It’s been reported than Diamond took out 10 threats. Though a couple of those were with the DS30.

Jonathan
Jonathan
16 days ago
Reply to  Ben

That would be if she had a full load of missiles it may be greater than 20%.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
16 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I suspect she was using mainly A15’s.

We don’t know A15/30 ratios and anybody who does know I urgently don’t want to know.

So it may be that A15’s were running down to say 40% of load and that triggered a rotation or something else happened that we don’t know about.

Or that the rotation was time and not munitions based.

Jonathan
Jonathan
16 days ago

That’s a good point, I think the min range of the 30 is around 3km so running out of 15s would leave a gap.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
16 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

It is far more likely to be R&R rather than run the crew ragged.

So they get a few weeks off and can go back on station.

Deep32
Deep32
16 days ago

Just seen on Twitter that Diamond has arrived in Gib for her maintenance/resupply visit, a fair old distance to cover for this sort of issue! Getting two more T45s back into the fleet probably cant come soon enough for the RN.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
16 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Probably the closest place where the crew would be safe for R&R.

The one thing Gib is very pro British!

Deep32
Deep32
16 days ago

There are closer NATO facilities (Souda Bay etc), but assume that there is a significant reason its GIB!

Yes its a good place for some R&R, spent 3 great years out there back in the day, nice people, great way of life.

Jonathan
Jonathan
16 days ago

That was clearly an intensive operation, the crew deserve a good rest and I hope HMG come up with a campaign medal.

Chris
Chris
16 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Unlike the US forces our boys and girls don’t expect a medal for doing what they are paid for.

Jonathan
Jonathan
16 days ago
Reply to  Chris

It is not about expect, HMG issues medals for service.

David Barry
David Barry
16 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Arnhem was intensive, Arctic convoys were intensive, heavens, PARA in Afghanistan in 2006 was intensive but, not sure this is up there.

As to deserving a rest, I’m sure the Bomber sun dodgers would enjoy the same terms and conditions.

Not sure if I have ever disagreed with you Jonathan but could we agree to disagree?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
16 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

The Sun Dodgers are not being fired at on a daily basis. Unless I’ve missed something.

It is quite reasonable to rotate ships and rest crews and fix things where possible.

No point in burning people out for no reason when alternatives are available.

David Barry
David Barry
16 days ago

That’s not my point; and you are selective in your answer.

Honestly, being in a tin can being hunted for more than a few months would not engender a feeling of comfort and security in me.

Firing 10 missiles, +/-, is not up there with sailors on Op Corporate either.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
16 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

No I don’t think it is at that threshold yet.

But if this goes on for a year or so, as these things have done in the past then it does reach a tipping point. They are under direct attack.

I agree this is nothing like corporate. But….the incoming missiles are probably equivalent…..the T45 is at a different level to T42 or T22. Exocet wasn’t that amazing we just didn’t have the right defences.

Chris
Chris
16 days ago

And I hate to bring this to politics but would we have these ships if Corbyn had got in? We need our forces ready to respond to whatever is needed not only ready to defend the home nation. Ukraine has shown us all how quickly things have changed with small drones sinking capital ships, we need to invest in future technologies or be left unable to defend the ships they are there to look after.

Steve
Steve
16 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Is there anything to suggest corbyn would have cut defence spending? His manufesto committed to the nato targets. As he was very pro public sector investment we might have seen less money flowing out of the mod into private companies profits, who knows. There were lots of lies around him being made by the pro Conservative media. Don’t get me wrong very happy he didn’t get in but for other reasons.

Last edited 16 days ago by Steve
Patrick
Patrick
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve

There’s no way Corbyn would have wanted to help arm Ukraine. Bojo is a waste of blood and organs, but he recognized the importance very quickly of not letting Ukraine fall to Putin.

Steve
Steve
16 days ago
Reply to  Patrick

We will never know for sure either way.

I wouldn’t put too much credit on Boris. We were supplying them for a long time before he suddenly started using it for political purposes and he always 100% about the photo op and zero % about running the country. If he was behind it from the start he would have been doing every photo op possible. Pretty sure it was Ben Wallace that did it and later when it became popular Boris jumped on the band wagon.

Last edited 16 days ago by Steve
James
James
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Corbyn wasnt great at using situations for political exploitation to his benefit, seemed much more adept to using examples which hindered him. Considering Russia invaded Crimea in 2014 this was longer before Boris’s time, we had been training/supplying Ukraine for some time before he could use the situation for political reasons. At least we have Starmer to look forward to. Im sure he must be being force fed each day, how on earth he ever orders/makes any food to eat with his inability to make a single decision about anything. Hes probably opposed his own objections before as cant decide… Read more »

Steve
Steve
16 days ago
Reply to  James

We will never know either way on corbyn as one man doesn’t make a political party, as he needs enough votes to get stuff through and as sunak/truss/boris/may has found backbenchers can derail any plans the leader might have. All we can do is judge the goverments we have had, anything else is guess work.

Last edited 16 days ago by Steve
David Barry
David Barry
16 days ago
Reply to  Patrick

Yes, the publicity that feeds his ego is what Bluffer recognised.

Redshift
Redshift
16 days ago
Reply to  Patrick

How can you possibly know this? Has Corbyn told you?

Chris
Chris
16 days ago
Reply to  Redshift

He did say he wanted defensive forces only

Chris
Chris
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Corbyn said he would only have defensive forces and also said he doubted he could ever order forces to take lives.

Steve
Steve
16 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Blair was massively anti wars when he was a junior minister. Didn’t stop him thinking they would get him votes and starting a few.

Meirion X
Meirion X
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve

You mean when Blair was a Opposition Shadow Junior Minister? Blair was elected to Parliament in 1983. I don’t recall what junior Opposition posts he held before under Smith or Kinnock.
He become Opposition leader only in 1994, and didn’t hold any official government post until Labour won in 1997 Election.

Last edited 16 days ago by Meirion X
Steve
Steve
16 days ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Yeah. My point is its politics. Politicians will do whatever it takes to win votes.

AlexS
AlexS
16 days ago
Reply to  Chris

A Marxist “Said”…this is getting ridiculous…

Redshift
Redshift
16 days ago
Reply to  Chris

We don’t, and can’t, possibly know, what exactly is the point of speculating what the previous leader of the Labour party would have done if he had won the election,?

AlexS
AlexS
16 days ago
Reply to  Chris

I must live in a bizarro world where here no one see Corbyn for what he is.

A Marxist that by definition hates Western Civilization.
What he would do depends of what kind of victory he would have achieved.
What he wants it is perfectly clear, ally UK with anti-Western alliance: Russia, Hamas, Heezbollah, Iran and all Marxist countries in the world.

Chris
Chris
16 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

And now what is Trump doing? I was in the army in 83 just trying to pass P company and wondering if I would have a job as we were labeled as war mongerers, but now we see Ukraine fighting a war so we don’t have to and the red sea is all just part of it as Putin wants to get the Arab world to fight America and the west…. Mainly to drive the US away from Europe and make them just stay in their borders… I don’t think anyone is silly enough to not see that this Red… Read more »

Tomartyr
Tomartyr
14 days ago
Reply to  Chris

What’s the point of discussing Corbyn? Last I checked he wasn’t even a member of the Labour party.

Airborne
Airborne
16 days ago

Wonder if she had been complete in her load out of missiles or the peacetime view that just a few will do! Correct me I’m wrong didn’t a T42 deploy off Libya all those moons ago and it was subsequently released to the press she only had 2 or 3 Sea Darts? Not sure which ship but she was doing some NGS a short distance off the coast.

Jonathan
Jonathan
16 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

I think I the end the T42 issue was around the numbers of serviceable sea dart missiles…but it would not surprise at all if there were some empty silos.

Patrick
Patrick
16 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

It was the T23 HMS Westminster that had 4 sea wolfs. The 2010 defence review will haunt the British military for many years to come.
It will be interesting to see if Hunt will announce a real lift in defence spending in March, or will it be a knee jerk reaction of a few more pounds.

Airborne
Airborne
16 days ago
Reply to  Patrick

Cheers mate now I remember 👍

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
16 days ago
Reply to  Patrick

Sea Wolf /Dart were being run down as ASTER and CAMM were run up.

The problem was the end dates on various bits of both were an issue so numbers fell.

That was due to the slower than expected move over to T45 after UK Horizon fell apart.

A few were extended to bridge the gap.

There comes a point where you have to move forwards onto new much better systems.

Patrick
Patrick
15 days ago

Sea Ceptor was still 7 years away in 2011. The Army were even sending soldiers home for Christmas early because they couldn’t afford to run the heating in the barracks. That review was nothing short of a distaer for the Armed Forces.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
15 days ago
Reply to  Patrick

CAMM was much delayed into FOC.

Simon
Simon
16 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

One of the things I believe that Gavin Williamson looked at while defence minister was to increase holdings of weapons and spare parts

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
15 days ago
Reply to  Simon

He did start that process off.

Which was absolutely essential. Things would be much worse now if he hadn’t started that process. Up to that point the purchasing was so anemic that MOD works wasn’t seen as a priority by many suppliers.

Posse Comitatus
Posse Comitatus
16 days ago

Just looking at the specs of Aster 30, 450 kg in weight, that’s one heavy MF of a missile!!

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
15 days ago

Long range VL fast missiles tend to be rather heavy. It takes a lot of energy to VL then accelerate and keep running.

Posse Comitatus
Posse Comitatus
15 days ago

Certainly. I never realised just how heavy they are, more akin to a cruise missile in weight. I know that they’re not configured for surface attack, but just the kinetic effect alone of 450kg hitting a surface target at supersonic speed would be massive.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
15 days ago

The thing is that the bit on top is an A15 – that is what does the hitting.

The launch stage detaches when its propellant is expended.

OK there could be a band of ranges at Mach3 with the launch stage attached. It would be a lot less manoverable at full length…pure mass and moment….but ships don’t jink like aircraft!

Posse Comitatus
Posse Comitatus
15 days ago

Ah right I see. Thanks.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
15 days ago

Well the Standard block 3 used for BMD is substantially bigger and more expensive again. +500kg, +$3million dollars each and 12+feet in length.

Mike
Mike
15 days ago

When I joined the RN at the start of the 1980’s the Defence Budget stood at 4.4%. Even then the Navy was short of ammunition and we were trying to move on to the new Type 22’s , bring into service the batch 2 Type 42’s, 2 Invincible class CVA’s and the start of the T class SSN’s. Today we can’t even build ships within a reasonable timeline, SSN take at least 10 years to build frigates and destroyers are at least 5 years +, as for the RFA we are talking about 14 years to design and built a… Read more »