Despite what would appear to be two years of minimal action, the Government insist they are continuing to ‘explore the potential’ of operating Type 45 Destroyers in a ballistic missile defence role.

The information comes from a question asked in Parliament by Mr Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to paragraph 4.16 of the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015, what recent representations his Department has received from NATO on the Government’s commitment to investigate further the potential of the Type 45 destroyers to operate in a BMD role.”

The question was answered by Mark Lancaster, Minister of State for the Armed Forces:

“Since the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015, the UK has continued to explore the potential for the Type 45 Destroyers to operate in a ballistic missile defence role, including through active engagement with NATO partners.”

British officials at a summit last March said that the Royal Navy is considering arming its destroyers with the new Aster missile version, dubbed Aster 30 Block 1NT.

The missile, a wide area defence missile capable against 1500 km-range ballistic missiles, was again discussed at a recent defence industry panel in Glasgow.

At the UK-France Security Summit, the two nations pledged to work jointly on complex weapons. According to a joint statement:

“We are fully supporting the long term strategy to jointly deliver effective military equipment in the most efficient manner while minimising national constraints and strengthening our common defence technological and industrial base.

In support of this, Defence Ministers signed in September 2015 an Inter-Governmental Agreement enabling full implementation of Centres of Excellence into MBDA, a key step towards creating inter-dependence between us around key missile technologies.

We also intend to develop in 2016 a portfolio approach to strengthen our industrial links and jointly address the current and future operational requirements of our forces. In that respect, France is for instance considering Brimstone 2 for next standard of Tiger combat helicopter and the United Kingdom is considering the Aster Block 1NT for equipping its T45 Destroyers.”

The programme also aims to “extend the range to hit incoming ballistic missiles”.

At the start of the year, Italy also joined the ‘Aster 30 Block 1NT’ programme.


  1. yeah right

    first rule of BMD. have ships that are manned with people to operate the systems required to shoot missile down

    second rule – place this somewhere far enough away from desired location to minimise impact of explosion

    • I am continuing to review the possibility of me marrying Sandra Bullock as well – and probably have a higher probably of that happening in the next 5 years than this…

  2. I recall the French were considering watchkeeper as UAS, came to nothing as they opted for a French system instead. I expect the same for brimstone.

    • The closest the French will come to buying anything made in the UK will be if its owned by Thales UK. They are complete bandits when it comes to getting the UK to order their products only to pull out of their proposed purchase after.

  3. Is this a role the T45 can do at the same time as provide escort for the carrier, given that we only have 6 and at any one time only 2 or possibly 3 ever seem to be available?

    • I think the point is that it will be doing this as part of its escort role for a major deployment or as part of NATO. We don’t have any local home waters need for this role. So the odd occasional support for NATO operations should not be a stretch.

    • That’s the beauty of ballistic missile defence. Any target for an icbm will be the UK, and since at least one type 45 is at Portsmouth for various reasons, it could be manned at short notice and operate it’s shield defence from right their in the harbour. A missile enroute to London would fall well within 1500 miles range.

  4. If you marry Sandra Bullock, she would be Mrs. Pacman 😜

    On a more serious note, I don’t think we should spend a great deal to achieve a marginal BMD capability with Aster missiles. Fit Mk41 VLS to the Type 45 and we could utilize VL ASROC, LRASM and SM6 (if you really have to have BMD). That’s a much more flexible package that uses a tried and tested missile.

    • I have a feeling the UK will stick to the French VLS and go for the naval version of SCALP. Not sure if any of the components are manufactured in the UK if its based on the air launched missile.

    • She would indeed Nick – one can only (continue) to dream

      Interestingly we could add Sampson to our T26 fleet and that is also job done – if we upgrade both (mk41 for T45 and Sampson for T26) that effectively gives us 14 top notch destroyers.

      All at relatively low cost for the upgrades.

      The Artisan radar already ordered could go on the T31 fleet instead

      • I agree, Sampson could be added to the Type 26 with Artisan moving to Type 31.

        We could then have:

        Type 45 with Mark 41, Aster, NSM and Tomahawk.
        Type 26 with Mark 41, Sampson, Sea Ceptor, NSM and Tomahawk.
        Type 31 with Mark 41, Artisan, Sea Ceptor, NSM and Tomahawk.

        We could save money when buying Mark 41, NSM and Tomahawk through economies of scale.

        I’d also like to see the Type 45,26,31 and River class upgraded with Brimestone Sea Spear.

  5. a cheaper option would be to fit a Sampson radar to the QE and then use networking to share the data with the escorts. that way one Sampson can support all the escorts should a t45 not be available.

    • not really. With China and Russia focusing on ballistic anti ship missiles, our destroyers need a way to counter them or they become obsolete in their primary role.

    • Hi Tim

      Any reason for your statement or are you just trying to bait people?

      From my perspective the Government wastes a huge amount of public money on lots of things and the MOD does as well, however there is a need to defend our nation. If you have a specific issue then please enlighten us.

  6. Hi A.smith

    I think SeaRams are the way to go on the smaller vessels – 21 missiles on a rolling airframe for less than £1m seems a bargain these days.

    There is a good thread on here about LMM as well and that can be integrated with a 30m gun, so perhaps we don’t need brimstone, but certainly do need something on these ships.

    • oh allied to the 57mm Otto malaria rapid fire solution (with volcano ammo)

      game changer if both systems could be implemented

  7. I’d be happy if I didn’t suspect – with good reason – that “exploring” in MoD terms means paying lots of military officers to live in London and sit their fat asses in cushy Whitehall postings while earning two pensions and being close to “the club”. More admirals than ships.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  8. Half foreign aid and build more type 45 and 26 .
    Job done.
    It’s as easy as building more social housing to stop the housing crisis.
    But brains stop at Westminster gates.


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