Discussion is reportedly ‘intensifying’ regarding equipping the Type 45 Destroyer fleet with the MK41 Vertical Launch System.

Andy Rhodes, Raytheon UK business development executive, claimed recently that discussions are intensifying about equipping the Royal Navy’s Type 45 Destroyer fleet with the MK41 Vertical Launch Systems, allowing the vessels to carry ballistic missile defence weaponry.

This seems unlikely in the short-term.

The MK 41 Vertical Launch Systems is also expected to be fitted on the Type 26 Frigates fleet, “which means they could be inherently ideal for sea-based ballistic missile defence protection” said Rhodes.

In a press release, Raytheon said:

“Not only could the Royal Navy carry the only sea-based mid-course defence weapon in existence today, the SM-3, they could also take advantage of the SM-6’s anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defence capability.

In August, an SM-6 Dual 1 interceptor destroyed a short-range ballistic missile target in a first-of-its-kind test at sea, solidifying its place in an elite group of weapons that can defend against this class of threat.”

However, it should be noted that a variant of the Aster 30 could be used in this role.

France and Italy have signed an agreement on development of the Aster 30 Block 1NT missile, the French Defence Ministry have said in a statement. British officials at a summit in March said that the Royal Navy is considering arming its destroyers with the new Aster version, dubbed Aster 30 Block 1NT (New Technology), a wide area defence capable against 1500 km-range ballistic missiles.

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Aster-30 and maybe quad packed CAMMS instead of Aster-15 are fine in the Sylver tubes, we don’t have an urgent need for BMD.

The MK41 tubes should instead be fitted with a combo of LRASM and ASROC for anti-ship and submarine capability, something the Type 45 lacks.


There is a huge software component to the US ballistic missile defense system on Arleigh Burke class destroyers. My understanding is that the Type 45 uses a non-Aegis software setup. I am not sure how the details would work here.


Assuming that once the Mk41 VLS system is fitted, actual weapons load out is easily interchangeable, we should start maintaining stocks of all those weapons plus TLAM’s. None of them are needed until they are needed but with tensions rising rapidly around the globe, the potential for minor skirmishes or more major conflicts arising quickly are getting higher each day. Regarding BDM specifically, I’d say there’s an argument for them always putting to sea with at least one or two weapons capable of such a role, whether that’s SM6 or an upgraded Aster wouldn’t matter too much, I don’t think,… Read more »

andy reeves

i’d rather hear the q.e. class will be fitted with enough firepower to defend itself against’swarm ‘attacks or terrorist attacks in harbour.


This is because Harpoon is being retired.

They want the MK41 to house the replacement for it.


Sooner the better Connor!


About bloody time!!!! From now on, let’s properly equip our ships from the outset and stop this ‘fitted for but not with’ rubbish or having a central ‘pool’ for weapons (ref. Phalanx CIWS and Harpoon)! We’re the only country that does this and I never could understand how we could afford to build ships but then have no money to properly arm them…. boggles the mind!


Is this the same guy that “announced” Raytheon was going to win the RN contract for a laser demonstrator?

i.e. the contract they didn’t get.


The Russians and Chinese are working on anti ship ballistic missiles. I would say for an air defence destroyer BMD is far more needed today than anti ship missiles which could be done by our subs. BMD we currently have nothing.


i would be more concerned about getting the propulsion sorted out asap before upgrading the weapons,after all you can fit what you like but if the ship is going to keep breaking down or cannot be used to it,s full potential then whats the point….it,s like owning a nice flash car with no wheels


My question to HMG is why should it have to be a choice of either or – it should be both ASAP!

andy reeves

it’s more concerning that, given the m.o.d performance in recent years, whatever the choice it will come at the expense of other much needed systems, such as up to date ASROC capability and widespread deployment to all R.N. ASSETTS


We should look to install the MK41 silos when the T45’s are in refit for their engines. Makes sense as they will be in dock for a long time.

Torpedoes would also be nice.


We also need CEC installed on all combat ships as well – this is a real force multiplier and would allow the RN to get the most out of the excellent Sampson Radar


I agree but if I recall, it was not implemented previously due to a lack of funds. Installing the MK41 VLS during the engine repair down time definitely makes sense. My concern is that this (VLS) comes to nothing. Rumour had it at the time SDSR 2015 was issued, funds originally intended for the Mk41 VLS install were diverted to pay for the engine fix. I hope this is no longer the case. The Type 45 is an excellent platform if only funds were made available to properly exploit its true potential!

andy reeves



If the T45s are about to start going into dry dock with holes cut in their hulls and heavy duty cranes available all for the engine fixes then that would seem a very cost-efficient window of opportunity to install the Mk41s. Let’s hope it happens.


I doubt that we’d buy Aster 30, 15 and all the associated kit and then replace it a few years later with SM-3/6. As for SSM, a more realistic aspiration would be a canister based replacement for harpoon such as NSM or Exocet. Torpedoes have been mentioned in the comments above, they are already carried by the ships helo. ASW torpedoes today are short range compared to submarine versions and the T45 is too noisy to have a realistic chance of using them on a submarine. Also there are more urgent priorities for the T45 fleet, such as propulsion and… Read more »


Also if you fit Mk41 there’s a good chance of losing the gym. this is unacceptable.

Mike Saul

Fantasy thinking, the defence budget is so stretched that the option of fitting mk41 launch system to T45 destroyers is just hot air.

We need a radical rethink on how we spend defence money before we can maximise our defence capability with the limited funds available.


Mike – It may well be fantasy thinking but that doesn’t mean it isn’t logical. The Type 45 is unable to attack anything bigger than a small fishing boat with its current weapons, £1bn for a ship that can only shoot missiles fired at it out of the sky is a poor return on investment. The MK41 Silo delivers options that frankly make this platform relevant.

The money needs to be found for this.


I agree with this. The Type 45’s are a preeminent air defence destroyer but its simply not good enough for the money invested and the number of ships available. It was fine having a layered defence strategy when we had the hull numbers to implement it but, with the number of ships at an all time low, what we do have needs to be far more versatile. We must find the money for this, even if it results in increased borrowing. The world is becoming an ever more unpredictable place and waiting to see what unfolds is no longer an… Read more »

Mike Saul

I agree it’s logical to fit mk41 plus CEC plus asw weapons plus a modern anti ship missile to the T45 class. However given the budgetary constraints and the MOD mindset its not going to happen. In my experience the UK MOD doesn’t do logic until someone starts shooting at us.

That’s why we need a radical change in the way we spend our limited defence budget. I live in hope, but not anytime soon l fear


MOD mindset. This needs serious re-education to my way of thinking. If they cant grasp the risks of doing things half cock after Iraq, they need someone to head it up that can and shake it up big time from top down.

andy reeves

as a vet of the falklands(h.m.s. antrim i fully agree the fitting of sea dart or wolf to replace the criminally inept sea slug systems on the ‘counties’which was known before the fleet(?) deployed. the bomb which hit antrim , given where it hit the flash doors behind the slug launcher(it bounced through the missile magazine could have vaporized the ship,in a blink. system analyisis has always come before ship and crew’s lives.

Mike Saul

Richard there isnt the political will to provide the funds required to modernise and enhance our military capability.

It’s very sad that we take our defence so lightly and our European NATO allies are worse than us. One day we may regret the course we have taken until that day to few of the voters care enough to vote for real change in our defence capability.


Mike, I’m in agreement with both you and Pacman27. It’s logical to fit them, the money should be found and the political will should be there to do it, but for whatever reason, it just isn’t.


Mike/Richard – I agree with the sentiments echoed by you both and the money needs to be found. However, politicians are a self-centred lot and the sad reality is that until there are votes in defence, they will continue to pay lip service and nothing will change…..

steven kirkland

Aye ok, very good build these feckers at a combined cost to the tax payer of £6Billion then later down the line suggest such offensive refits.

Can we stop wasting good money on these highly profitable defence companies.

I get we both need each other but the piss taking has to stop.

andy reeves

as a vet of the falklands(h.m.s. antrim i fully agree the fitting of sea dart or wolf to replace the criminally inept sea slug systems on the ‘counties’which was known before the fleet(?) deployed. the bomb which hit antrim , given where it hit the flash doors behind the slug launcher(it bounced through the missile magazine could have vaporized the ship,in a blink. system analyisis has always come before ship and crew’s lives. end the BAE monopoly is the first place i’d start with


Given that we have reduced the T26 buy to 8 – and that they are scheduled to have 24 Mk41 strike VLS I really do think we need to install these and CEC on the T45 at th earliest opportunity to offset the lower volume of T26’s – additionally I would like to see the Sampson Radar installed on the T26 with the Artisans currently deployed on the T23’s going to the T31’s. This will then give us 14 really useful battleships that can respond to a number of circumstances. Additionally this is real value for money – as the… Read more »

Andrew Pritchard

i think we should use the SM-6’s anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defense capability since the Aster 30 Block 1NT is built by the France and Italy who could put the price up once we have left the EU so plus the sm-6 is built by the USA for there navy it would be much easier

Paul Hopkins

Adopting the SM6 would probably be non starter and through European (or at least our bit) co operation into disarray. We lose what little credibility we have. Through whatever means, increase the type 45 weapon and missile load and fix the engine problem during the mid life update program.


The Us has started work on SM6 dual 1 protecting US Carriers for the Chinese DF 21 Missiles at least they are not Fire Fighting like are Navy The updated threat assessment calls for defense against a wide range of targets – from manned and unmanned aircraft, guided missiles launched from surface ships, submarines or aircraft at stand-off range, to ballistic ‘carrier killers’ missiles, such as the Chinese DF-21, that may be launched from ranges of 2,000 away, against enemy surface vessels and aircraft carriers. Intercepting such targets, attacking from steep angles, at a velocity of Mach 10, the navy… Read more »

Mr J Bell

Agree totally with Brian fit the mk 41 vl cells but arm them with ASROC, LRASM, Tomahawk. Such a weapons fit would truly make the type 45s capital ships able to project power over the horizon and defend themselves and the QEs they will escort.
get the mk41s fitted during the extensive refit needed on the type 45s to resolve their power and propulsion problems.