Firing trials for the new Sea Ceptor air defence system have been successfully completed say the Ministry of Defence.
The completion of the firing trials from Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll means Sea Ceptor can proceed to the next stage of the acceptance into service with the Royal Navy.
Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said:
“In the face of intensifying global threats, cutting-edge systems like Sea Ceptor will keep the UK safe. These successful trials from HMS Argyll mark a major milestone towards the introduction of this world-class missile system into service for the Royal Navy.
Work to develop and install Sea Ceptor across the Royal Navy is also boosting British industry, supporting 600 jobs in the Bristol, Stevenage and Bolton areas.”
The first firings of Sea Ceptor were conducted from HMS Argyll at the Hebrides range off the coast of Scotland and involved firing the system to assess its performance against a range of scenarios.
Two sets of trials were conducted by Defence, Equipment and Support (DE&S) and supported by a number of other organisations, lasting around two weeks each.
During the firings the system was first tested against single aerial targets. This was followed by more demanding tests, including a single target engaged by two missiles and a twin firing (two targets, each engaged by a single missile at the same time) say officials.
Lieutenant Nick Andrews, HMS Westminster’s Anti-Air-Warfare Officer, said:
“HMS Westminster managed to explore the real potential of the system during her training and to say it is a real game changer is an understatement. Unlike its predecessor, the system is capable of defending ships other than Westminster herself. Whether it’s engaging multiple air threats or fast incoming attack craft, Sea Ceptor represents a massive capability upgrade for the Type 23 frigate.”
Richard Smart, Director Weapons, for the MOD’s procurement organisation Defence Equipment and Support, which is based at MoD Abbey Wood in Bristol, said:
“These trials are a significant step in getting the Sea Ceptor weapon system to acceptance and a great example of how important live trials are in helping us to understand a new military capability before using it in operational service. The success of the trials is testimony to the hard work put in by the DE&S project team and the working relationship they have with industry.
The results of the firings are now going through extensive analysis; our assessment so far is positive and shows how Sea Ceptor is capable of protecting both the ship which fired it and other ships in its task group, which could include the UK’s two new Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carriers.”