Royal Navy Completes Sea Ceptor firing trials

HMS Westminster Type 23 “Duke”-class frigate (F237) firing one of its new Sea Ceptor missiles during its recent qualification tests. Photo: MBDA

The Royal Navy has successfully conducted the final First of Class firing trials of the new Sea Ceptor air defense system – completing the qualification firings of this cutting-edge new capability for the Royal Navy. With HMS Argyll having completed development testing of Sea Ceptor, the weapon system is now being rolled out to the Royal Navy’s other Type 23 Frigates. The first of a series of installation test firings have been successfully completed on HMS Westminster. Each vessel will similarly complete an installation test firing in due course as they prepare to re-join frontline service after their refits.

Following on from the first round of trials this summer, the second set of trials from HMS Argyll saw the system tested against more complex scenarios, including rapidly engaging multiple simultaneous threats.

“HMS Westminster managed to explore the real potential of the system during her training and to say it is a real game changer is an understatement.” Lieutenant Nick Andrews, HMS Westminster’s Anti-Air-Warfare Officer, said, “Unlike its predecessor, the system is capable of defending ships other than Westminster herself. Whether it’s engaging multiple air threats or fast incoming attack craft, Sea Ceptor represents a massive capability upgrade for the Type 23 frigate.”

With HMS Argyll due to deploy to Japan next year, the trials successfully showcased the short-range capabilities of the new defense system. Another Type 23, HMS Sutherland, is due to deploy to Australia in the New Year.

Sea Ceptor offers a step-change in capability compared with legacy systems like Sea Wolf, which it is replacing in Royal Navy service. While Sea Wolf gave Royal Navy warships the capability to protect themselves, with Sea Ceptor the navy’s frigates will now also be able to protect other vessels.

Despite being brand new to the international market, the benefits that CAMM offers have already been widely acknowledged internationally; with a number of international customers having chosen it as the basis for their future local air defence capabilities.

A salvo of two Sea Ceptor air defense missiles fired from HMS Argyll. The recently completed second set of trials from HMS Argyll tested the system against more complex scenarios, including rapidly engaging multiple simultaneous threats that required firing missiles in salvo. Sea Ceptor is being fitted to replace the Sea Wolf weapon system on the Type 23 frigates and will provide the same capability for the Royal Navy’s future Type 26 Frigates. Photo: Crown Copyright, UK MOD