UK Royal Navy’s Sea Viper to Take on Ballistic Threats

23.01.2024 Europe
UK Royal Navy’s Sea Viper to Take on Ballistic Threats

UK Royal Navy’s Sea Viper to Take on Ballistic Threats

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MBDA has received three contracts worth around £400 million to boost and sustain the Sea Viper principal area air defence system of the United Kingdom Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers.

Two contracts, called Sea Viper Evolution, will enable the Type 45 Destroyers to defend the Carrier Strike Group against anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs). Meanwhile, another contract will provide extended and enhanced in-service support (ISS) contract for Sea Viper for a further five years. MBDA is the prime contractor and design authority for the Sea Viper weapon system, including the sensor (radar), the command and control system, and the missile.

Chris Allam, Managing Director of MBDA UK, said: “These contracts will make Sea Viper the most capable naval air defence system ever developed for the Royal Navy in our 60 year history as the Navy’s primary air defence system supplier. They will also see the UK further enhance the co-operation with France and Italy through MBDA by joining the Aster 30 Block 1 programme, giving the UK the ability to defeat anti-ship ballistic missiles.”

The main element of Sea Viper Evolution will see the Royal Navy’s existing Aster 30 missiles receive upgraded Block 1 warheads and new guidance and seeker software to deal with new anti-ship ballistic missile threats, whilst retaining its world leading anti-air warfare capability. The Type 45’s Sampson multi-function radar, and combat management system will also be upgraded. An integrated team from MBDA across the UK, France and Italy is conducting the work together with BAE Systems Maritime Services.

Scott Jamieson, Managing Director, BAE Systems’ Maritime Services business, said: “Our Radar business is excited to be working with MBDA on the Sea Viper Evolution upgrade to our SAMPSON Radar on board the UK’s Type 45 Destroyers. This new capability will form a key element of the UK’s Maritime Ballistic Missile Defence programme.”

The second part of Sea Viper Evolution is an assessment phase evaluating adding the new Aster 30 Block 1NT missile to the Type 45 destroyers, as well as further improvements to the radar and the wider weapon system, to provide world leading capabilities against medium range manoeuvring and separating ballistic missiles.

The extended ISS contract will continue to build upon MBDA’s pioneering data driven approach to optimised stockpile availability, ensuring the Royal Navy have weapons ready at time of need.

MBDA is a unique multi-national European group, a world-leader in the field of complex weapon systems, playing a key role in keeping nations safe. Created in the spirit of international co-operation, MBDA and its 14,000+ employees work together to support the national sovereignty of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, and their allies worldwide. As an accelerator for innovation, MBDA is the only European group capable of designing and manufacturing complex weapons to meet the full range of current and future operational requirements of the three armed forces (land, sea and air).

Airbus (37.5%), BAE Systems (37.5%) and Leonardo (25%) jointly own MBDA.



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