Type 23 frigate HMS Northumberland was on the ranges conducting test firing exercises.

The Royal Navy say that the Sea Ceptor missile can defend an area of 500 square miles and the ship’s company was tasked with taking down high-speed, sea skimming drones fired from one of the nearby islands.

According to a press release from the Royal Navy:

“The Plymouth-based ship’s missile system – fitted to all the Royal Navy’s Type 23s – can defend an area of 500 square miles and, in this latest drill, the ship’s company was tasked with taking down high-speed, sea skimming drones fired from one of the nearby islands.

It offered the chance for the Royal Navy’s latest missile system, and its team of operators and maintainers, to prove their worth. Northumberland joins a steadily growing group of Type 23 frigates to successfully conduct the Installation Test Firing (ITF) for the system.

The ship has recently had a busy period regenerating from upkeep, and three extremely busy periods as the National Tasking unit. It meant the cancellation of the previous two firing opportunities, but following completion of the unit’s recent tasking escorting the Russian Udaloy class guided missile destroyer, Severomorsk, it was third time lucky.”

Northumberland joins a steadily growing group of Type 23 frigates to successfully conduct the Installation Test Firing (ITF) for the system. The ship has recently had a busy period regenerating from upkeep, and three extremely busy periods as the National Tasking unit.

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Cam
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Cam

They sure like to strap on GPMGs everywhere

GWM
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GWM

Yea shame that’s an old photo showing a seawolf fit.

Gavin Gordon
Guest
Gavin Gordon

2nd photo of firing is ceptor, though

lee
Guest

Yes they will be be the replacement phalanx system. Oh god i dont know if i should laugh or cry

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

The minimum engagement range of Sea Ceptor is supposed to be less than 1000m and I see USS Freedom LCS carries the RIM-116 for point defence so I’m thinking the RN trend might be to put the self contained Phalanx on the carriers, landing ships and RFA vessels and put Sea Ceptor on the frigates and destroyers.

Steve Taylor
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Steve Taylor

There isn’t really much more they can do to defend 5000t frigate when manoeuvring in ports. I bet they would like more. Even then a bit of a sitting dock. I am surprised more Western warships haven’t been attacked around the world in the more distant ports. They must be an ideal RPG target.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

When in port there is always a lot of Force Protection measures in place. Its not just GPMG, mini guns and upper deck sentrys. It is also armed seaboats patrolling, barriers to prevent direct shots from land and anti speed boat booms and nets.
In most cases if the threat is high you don’t go or sail.

lee
Guest

As much as its great to hear that we can shoot down drowns with missiles . Can we use the Phalanx to shoot down smaller drones and swarm?

Pete
Guest
Pete

T23 dont have phalanx…. Unfortunately

mac
Guest
mac

How realistic/relevant are these drone shoot downs anyway.

Do these incoming drones deploy countermeasures of the sorts incoming enemy missiles would have in order to try and defeat missile defences or are they just high speed ‘dumb’ drones.

Spyinthesky
Guest
Spyinthesky

Not an answer we will likely get anytime soon

Pete
Guest
Pete

Camm is based on asraam https://youtu.be/cKN_2ViE4eM

Pete
Guest
Pete
Spyinthesky
Guest
Spyinthesky

What does ‘Regeneration from Upkeep’ actually mean in English never heard it used before? Some form of reserve or layed up status for these vessels? I know some of the T23s have been rotting away awaiting their mid term updates which includes Sea Ceptor so is this simply a cover for this state of affairs with a fancy title?

GWM
Guest
GWM

She has been in refit specifically fitting sea cepter plus other improvements.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

So not “rotting away” then.

GWM
Guest
GWM

No they cut out the rusty bits and put in some new stuff plus a bit of filler.

Spyinthesky
Guest
Spyinthesky

So it is simply a slogan for the refit itself. I’m saying nothing.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Regeneration from upkeep describes the step by step process for setting to work the systems and working up the crew to being fully Operationally Capable.
Harbour Acceptance Trials and Safety Training. Shore side Safety, OPS Simulator and Damage control.
Sea Acceptance Trials and more advanced safety training + FOST training for safety and basic operational training

FOST training for Operational Capability
Then finally a JMC Exercise and you are done…
Usually just in time for the fully worked up crew to go on draft!

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

So no duct tape then

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

I wouldn’t go that far!!!! 🙂

James
Guest
James

What major advantages does the T45 have over a F23 fitted with this system?

GWM
Guest
GWM

Way beter Radar and longer range missiles,Aster30 to be exact.

James
Guest
James

Will the T26 get the abilities of the T45 or still be off the mark in air defence?

Be nice to know that the future frigates will also be able to do commendable air defence roles and not just rely solely on T45 (which are too few in numbers).

Ben
Guest
Ben

The Type 26s will just get Sea Ceptor, but in larger numbers than the Type 23s. Useful for point defence only but still a huge step up over Sea Wolf.

GWM
Guest
GWM

No different roles, Type45 is for fleet air defence so beter Radar and missiles,Type23 and 26 are anti sub so missiles are for self defence.

Ron
Guest
Ron

James, as far as I am aware the T26 is to be equipped with 24 Mk41 VL tubes, this in theory would mean that the T26 could carry 24 Aster 30 SAMs and 48 Sea Ceptor SAMs. This would be a fairly powerful Anti Air capability. If they would ever be so fitted that is something else, I think the planned fit for the Mk41s is 8 TLAM cruise missiles, 8 VL ASROC and 8 Aster 30 block 1 NT or Block 2 BMD ballistic missile defence.

Rob N
Guest
Rob N

Hi,

I was not aware a planned fit for the MK41 had been announced…

I thought some of the VLS slots would be used for ASMs. ASROC would be good as would ASTEr 30 – but I doubt they would fit them to a frigate. I think Tomahawk is better fired from covert platforms like subs and just use up slots on surface ships that could be used for fleet defence.

Ivan
Guest
Ivan

The T-26 is focused on anti-submarine work, similar to eight of the current T-23’s. The T-26 will still have CAMM installed, but will also have an additional 24 slots from a Mk41 VLS. This can be used for a variety of missiles including quad loaded CAMM (i.e. 4 missiles per VLS cell = 96, on top of the 48). CAMM is useful out to plus 25km, so a big help in local air defence. However, the standard configuration for the Mk41 VLS would be to buy some ASROC to enhance the vessels anti-submarine role, T-45 are a quite different animal,… Read more »

JohnHartley
Guest
JohnHartley

I would be happier if future RN frigates armed with SeaCeptor had a mix of CAMM + CAMM-ER. I want to keep those hostile aircraft with anti-ship missiles further away.

Julian
Guest
Julian

I’d like to see CAMM-ER in there as well. There seem to be two big unknowns with that though…

1 – How is the funding looking for the CAMM-ER development? Is it still going ahead?

2 – Even if CAMM-ER does get into production, are the dedicated Sea Ceptor silos on T26 being sized such that they will be able to host the ER version? ER is longer (obviously) but also a bit wider too.

Does anyone know the answers to the above?

GWM
Guest
GWM

The ER is an Italian project so don’t expect to see it on UK ships.

BB85
Guest
BB85

Italy was the one funding CAMM-ER and they hit that on the head when they elected their last government, so I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
If CAMM-ER is produced in Italy I don’t think the UK government will select it.

CAMM-ER is thicker than the standard CAMM, but not by much, so I’d be shocked if they made it too thick to quad pack as they would loose so many sales as a result, if it ever does go into production.

Julian
Guest
Julian

BB85 – I agree on the quad packing but I was thinking of the dedicated Sea Ceptor silos that are going onto T26 and I would think are very likely to go onto T31 if it ever sees the light of day. ER is less than an inch wider than regular CAMM (ER is 24mm wider) so for the sake of that tiny difference I think it would be a real shame if T26 had to end up quad-packing one of its MK41s to carry ER (if the UK did ever add it to the arsenal of course) rather than… Read more »

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

This is part of the answer.
http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/203698/italy-restores-funding-for-camm-er-air_defense-missile.html

The wiki page on camm has dimensions on camm and camm-er.

cheers

Julian
Guest
Julian

Thanks Paul. That’s a solid answer re the funding. It’s good to hear it’s moving forward again. Even if the UK doesn’t pick it up it also gives MBDA some experience of fitting a second-stage booster onto a cold-launch missile, experience that might be helpful in a general sort of way if VLS Spear Cap 3 ever went ahead.

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

I think the logic based on Falklands experience is that worst case the launch aircraft will approach beneath the radar horizon and the first time you might see the skimmer is when it pops over the horizon, which for a Type 23 mast is theoretically about 11 miles. At 600mph the missile will take roughly one minute to reach its target…. A singleton GP frigate will likely carry a Wildcat with Seaspray radar which can detect a wooden dhow in rough seas at 100-200 miles so hopefully you are waiting for it if you have an idea of the direction.… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

It will be interesting to see what the fit out is, but my money is only sea ceptor plus whatever is brought to replace harpoon. It would be great to see aster30 and some form of ASROC on the frigates but just can’t see where the money will come from.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Its astounding that the world’s best anti sub hull may not have ability to kill subs and will rely on probably a single helo that cant cover more than 1 place at a time. Contact 40km east and another contact 40km west and………

Hopefully ivan will do decent thing and only ever threaten a type 26 with 1 sub at a time.

P

Steve
Guest
Steve

Fitted for not with will be song from the roof tops again. I read that the task force off norway was hunting subs with wildcats because their Merlin’s were elsewhere deployed. This is the story of British procurement, buy big flashy assets to look look relevent and the cut corners on core capability needed to make them effective. It’s nothing new, the current frigates don’t have the capacity for phalanx, a capability that can’t have been that expensive to have built for. The Albion’s don’t have a hanger, the t45 don’t all have anti ship missiles, qe doesn’t have point… Read more »

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Frigates have hunted subs using the MATCH system for decades. Just because you have a merlin doesn’t mean all other systems are carp.
The frigates do the target acquisition and drive the torpedo carrying helo (PONY) onto the target. A merlin can classify and attach using its own systems but the frigate is the one doing the long range searching and Blasting away on active to give the helo an area to search in.

Steve
Guest
Steve

It’s not a matter of whether other systems are good or bad, it’s that the frigates are designed to work in combination with the Merlin’s, and if frames are so stretched now, with no carriers and no major upgrade program going on etc, it’s pretty clear that post carriers they will be at breaking point.

The UK procurement needs to be smarter and invest in the total capability and not just the head line numbers

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

The Merlin is a self contained sub hunter killer, a flying frigate. The towed array on the Type 23/26 could I think provide target coordinates to any Wildcat in the fleet close enough to launch its Stingray homing torpedo. Type 45 can carry 2 Wildcat for example.

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

I’m hoping that the RN scrap Aster 15 on the T45 and replace it with quad packed Sea Ceptor. The Aster doesn’t seem to have any great improvement in range really, and would allow more Aster 30s to be carried for the same number of short range missiles. Possibly even mix Aster 30 types, so we can have some of the (I assume) more expensive BMD ones too? You could even go crazy and consider a land-attack or anti ship missile, while still retaining the same number of both short and long range air defence missiles. One less missile type… Read more »

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

I am not sure the RN ever bought Aster 15. Yes Sea Viper can shoot 15 but I don’t think any were purchased for deployment because Sea Ceptor was coming.

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

Frankly, I’d be relieved if we haven’t- shows a nice bit of forethought! Sea Ceptor and ASter 30 are a good fit. If we can get Sea Ceptor ER even better!

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Article on savetheroyalnavy suggests a 30/18 mix of Aster30/15 on the T45.

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

I don’t think it would be a good idea to swap out Aster 15 for Sea Ceptor unless you really need a bigger loadout.Aster 15 is superior in both Range and Performance – as the saying goes ‘you pays your money and takes your choice’.

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

The performance I’m not really familiar with, so will bow to your greater knowledge. Although my understanding is that Sea Ceptor is incredibly manoeuvrable?
The publicised ranges are only different by 5 km in favour of the 15, and I’d imagine the real ranges are proportionally larger but not hugely divergent from each that. I’d imagine that being able to stock Sea Ceptor at a ratio of 4:1 would be more attractive than an improvement in range of 5 km?

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

The Aster Missiles have technology called PIF -PAF which gives them enhanced manoeuvrability.

BB85
Guest
BB85

I think the T26 hull will eventually be used to replace the T45. The large mission bay at the back could be used for another 48 VLS and turn it into a cruiser. If only the treasury would approve a RN ship with 96 VLS.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

Can it be configured for VLS?

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

I believe that Canadian (and maybe Australian?) versions of the T26 will be fitted out as more GP or air defence oriented frigates, with a better area air defence capabilities. But they don’t have T45 or an equivalent to fill this role at all (as far as I’m aware), hence the need for their T26s to do it. Even though we don’t have many of them, T45 does it very effectively, so no need for the T26 to wear two hats. It’s also worth bearing in mind that ASW and AAD are two very different mission sets; a hypothetical T26… Read more »

JohnHartley
Guest
JohnHartley

NavalToday is reporting that the 15x T26 for the Canadian Surface Combatant will cost 69.8 billion Canadian dollars. That is 4.6 billion Canadian dollars per ship. Figures from the Canadian Government Budget Officer.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Price has increased amongst other things because the procurement decision was delayed… Sound familiar…

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

If only there was another way to handle procurement that involved being able to pay a bit more early to save money later…

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

And we thought we were paying a lot…!
I understand they’re fitting them out with area air defence in mind as well, aren’t they? I guess that’s always been an expensive thing to do.

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

The RAN does have the Hobart Class Destroyers which are Air Warfare oreintated

Spyinthesky
Guest
Spyinthesky

Losely speaking if it helps a Sort of difference between the Sea Dart longer range and Sea Wolf short range point defence set up between the destroyers and Frigates of the previous generations, though much more advanced and greater range and hopefully a damn sight better in particular than Sea Dart which led to the frigates defending the Destroyers against low level attacks. Sea Wolf was a damn good missile, just too short a range and originally at least within a poor in combat sensor and computing environment, as was discovered in the Falklands with the blue screen of death.… Read more »

Julian
Guest
Julian

Just for people’s info, that “can defend an area of 500 square miles” statement is using a range assumption of 20.30 km for Sea Ceptor (my calculation using pi*radius^2 to calculate the area of a circle and 1 mile = 1.609 km).

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Thanks Julian.

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

Thanks for that, I’d been hoping that the MOD may have let slip a more accurate real range for the Sea Ceptor, rather than just the publicly available one. Apparently they have good enough maths skills not to do that at least!

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I suspect you could add a 0 to the square miles figure and be closer to the truth. The MOD may actually be the worst tellers of pies when it come to published capability.Got to love em, on one hand they are desperate to convince the taxpayers they got value for money and ensure that there is an element of deterrent from respect, on the other I’m sure they would love to publish that they could probably hit a slow moving barn door at 50 feet.

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

Have you not seen the test firings of Sea Ceptor?
There is also a land launched version as well.
Take a look, and judge for yourself.
Of course, they won’t tell you the real range!

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

hearing that things work is great

Gavin Gordon
Guest
Gavin Gordon

Agreed, the overall RN surface fleet modernisation seems to be proceeding well on the majority of fronts. I’m iching to know what has put the brakes on the Astute programme, though.

Gavin Gordon
Guest
Gavin Gordon

Or even itching

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

What is up with the Astute Programme – nothing I have read suggests they are not going to plan.

Steve
Guest
Steve

It does seem there is a serious problem there, what isn’t clear is if it’s lack of money or they have hit a technical problem

Gavin Gordon
Guest
Gavin Gordon

Morning, Paul.
Try ‘Save the Royal Navy’ site ‘Audacious’.
Cheers

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Cheers,just read it,sounds more frustrating than anything else,just hope they get it sorted out soon.

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

Also some of Type 23 frigates having refits, are taking longer then planned, e.g. HMS Lancaster, HMS Portland, does anyone know what is happening on that front?

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Wasn’t it the case that HMS Lancaster was laid up for some time, which would have increased the likelihood of major problems.HMS Portland, being the youngest T23 maybe would be in a better material state.

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Oops correction HMS Portland being the 2nd youngest Type 23.