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IAI, Thales team up to offer Sea Serpent anti-ship missile for UK I-SSGW requirement

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has teamed up with UK-based Thales to offer the Sea Serpent guided anti-ship/anti-surface weapon system as a potential low-risk military off-the-shelf solution for UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) ship-launched Interim Surface-to-Surface Guided Weapon (I-SSGW) requirement.

I-SSGW is intended to equip several UK Royal Navy (RN) Type 23 frigates to bridge the capability gap following the retirement of the service’s current GWS 60 Harpoon Block 1C system from the end of 2023.

In March 2019 the UK MoD’s Weapons, Torpedoes, Tomahawk, and Harpoon (TTH) Project Team released a Prior Information Notice (PIN) detailing its intention to acquire a ship-launched over-the-horizon precision anti-ship capability; a subsequent provision specified an additional terrain-following precision maritime land attack capability. The notice stated that the I-SSGW capability would be fitted to five Type 23 (towed array) frigates that are capable of concurrent anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) operations for a 10-year period as part of the UK’s Maritime Task Group. Other potential I-SSGW bidders could include Kongsberg/Raytheon, Saab, and MBDA.

Sea Serpent is understood to be based on the latest variant Gabriel V weapon system, which is planned for integration on the Israel Navy’s three existing Saar 5 corvettes and four new Saar 6 Class corvettes. Announcing the teaming agreement with Thales, IAI said in a 13 April statement, “Sea Serpent has been developed in parallel with similar systems in service with the Israel Navy and was selected to provide powerful strike capabilities for Finland’s SSM2020 programme.”

        IAI has captioned this image simply as ‘live firing from a ship’ with no additional detail. However, 
         understands that this is an image of the latest generation Gabriel V anti-ship missile being fired from an unidentified Israel Navy Saar 5-class corvette in September 2020. IAI declined to comment on this detail.
       ( Israel Aerospace Industries)

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