The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed an initial contract with missile manufacturer MBDA to upgrade the ballistic missile defence capabilities of the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers.
According to the government officials, the UK is set to become the first European nation to operate a Maritime Ballistic Missile Defence capability that can detect and destroy anti-ship ballistic missiles.
The value of the contract is more than £300 million and the country expects the deal to support more than 100 jobs across the UK.
The agreement comes almost a year after the UK Government decided to upgrade the Type 45 destroyers with MBDA’s Sea Ceptor or common anti-air missile (CAMM) air defence missile system.
Upgrading the defensive capability of the Type 45 fleet was committed to in the Defence Command Paper, as part of the Integrated Review last year.
Meanwhile, the UK has also joined tri-national ASTER Block 1 missile program with France and Italy.
The signing of the tri-national agreement is the first formal step in the upgrade of the six vessels, which will include converting existing missiles to the Aster 30 Block 1 standard, as well as updates to the Sampson multi-function radar (MFR) and Sea Viper command and control missile system, under the full Sea Viper Evolution program.
Sea Viper’s upgrade is expected to boost the lethality of the Type 45 vessels, helping to ensure the Royal Navy remains poised to defend the surface fleet and the Maritime Strike Group against complex air threats both now and into the future.
“As we face global uncertainty, alliances and greater defensive capability are more important than ever. Joining our French and Italian counterparts will see us collectively improve the … technology our armed forces possess. It is another example of us delivering on the commitments from the Defence Command Paper, helping protect our service personnel when faced with the most severe threats,” Defence Procurement Minister, Jeremy Quin said.
“Sea Viper Evolution will deliver a significant uplift in capability and brings to a close many years of detailed planning and activity by the Maritime Air and Weapons team in DE&S,” DE&S CEO Simon Bollom added.
Royal Navy operates a fleet of six Type 45 destroyers, including HMS Daring, Dauntless, Diamond, Dragon, Defender and Duncan. The vessels are also undergoing upgrades under the Power Improvement Project (PIP), which is expected to enhance the resilience of the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers by installing additional power generation sources in each ship.