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Naval Weapons

Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll completes Sea Ceptor firings

21 December 2017
Firing trials of the GWS 35 Sea Ceptor air defence system have been successfully completed on board HMS Argyll. Source: MBDA

The UK Royal Navy (RN) Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll has successfully completed final first of class firing trials of the GWS 35 Sea Ceptor local area anti-air missile system ahead of formal acceptance into service planned for early 2018.

Two salvo firings were performed from Argyll during a two-week period in late October/early November. GWS 35 is being retrofitted to all 13 RN Type 23 frigates to replace the GWS 26 Mod 1 VL Seawolf (VLSW) point defence missile system as part of the frigate capability sustainment programme.

Developed and manufactured by MBDA under the umbrella of the company’s portfolio management agreement with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Sea Ceptor system is founded on MBDA’s Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) munition. CAMM employs active radar homing, supported by mid-course guidance updates, to deliver an all-weather engagement capability against targets out to a range of 25 km.

Another major feature of the CAMM munition is the use of a ‘soft’ vertical launch system. The missile is ejected from its canister by a piston driven by an explosive gas charge incorporated within the canister; once at height, aft-mounted gas thrusters effect a turnover manoeuvre before the main motor fires.

Argyll completed a first set of first of class firing trials on the MoD’s Hebrides range in July 2017. This campaign saw three separate firing serials, each involving the launch of a single CAMM missile against Mirach 100/5 targets.

The second and final set of firing trials, also conducted on the MoD Hebrides range, was designed to test GWS 35 against a more complex and stressing threat set.

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