The Ministry of Defence has awarded a £100m contract to deliver a key defensive weapon for the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 Global Combat Ship.
The advanced Sea Ceptor air defence missile system, designed and built in the UK by MBDA, will be fitted to each of the new Type 26 ships.
Using innovations in radar and datalink technology that will guide these powerful missiles with pinpoint accuracy, Sea Ceptor will provide the Royal Navy with a shield against airborne threats such as the new generation of supersonic anti-ship missiles, fast jets, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.
The new Demonstration and Manufacture phase contract will support additional design work and allow equipment to be manufactured to equip the entire Type 26 fleet.
The work will sustain around 85 jobs, including 55 at MBDA’s sites in Bristol, Stevenage and Lostock and 30 across the UK supply chain. Companies on the supply chain include Babcock in Leicester, Churrock Engineering in Chelmsford, Quadrant in Todmorden, API in Milton Keynes, Meggitt in Stevenage and Aish in Poole.
MBDA is actively pursuing export opportunities for Sea Ceptor. The system has already been selected by the Royal New Zealand Navy for use on board their Anzac class frigates, with considerable potential for additional overseas orders in the future.
Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said:
Sea Ceptor will ensure the Royal Navy’s Type 26 Global Combat Ships are protected as they, in turn, protect the UK and her interests, keeping our nuclear deterrent submarines and the UK’s two new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers safe on operations around the globe.
Supported by our rising Defence budget and our £178 billion equipment fund, Sea Ceptor is yet another example of how the MOD investing in cutting-edge kit to help our Armed Forces meet future threats.
Sea Ceptor is also planned for use on board the Royal Navy’s current fleet of Type 23 frigates, which will eventually be replaced by Type 26, with three vessels currently being fitted with the system to allow sea trials throughout 2017.
The system offers significant improvements over previous air defence systems, such as Sea Wolf, with the ability to engage multiple targets more effectively at a longer range.
Chief Executive Officer for the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support, Tony Douglas, said:
Sea Ceptor is the future of air defence for the Royal Navy, and it is fantastic that Defence Equipment and Support and the MOD has led from the front in its development, working with industry to provide the UK’s Armed Forces with world-leading kit.
Sea Ceptor is due to enter service on Type 26 in the mid-2020s, and on Type 23 in 2017.