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Sea Ceptor ordered for UK Type 31 frigates

MBDA has been contracted by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to supply the GWS 35 Sea Ceptor local area anti-air missile system for the Royal Navy’s new Type 31 Inspiration-class frigates.

Announced on 26 May, the contract includes integration of Sea Ceptor into the Type 31 combat system, together with the delivery and installation of ship hardware for the five-ship programme. The order does not cover any munitions.

Babcock International, leading an industry team comprising of Thales, OMT, and BMT, was awarded a GBP1.25 billion design-and-build contract for the Type 31 programme in November 2019. The Arrowhead 140 ship design selected for Type 31 is an adaptation of the Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate platform already in service with the Royal Danish Navy.

Using MBDA’s Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM), the Sea Ceptor system is designed to provide the host ship and vessels in consort from a range of air threats, including anti-ship cruise missiles, and fighter ground-attack aircraft. Using active radar homing, supported by mid-course guidance updates, CAMM is able to achieve intercepts at ranges up to 25 km. It also affords a very short minimum intercept range owing to its soft-launch/low apogee turnover.

MBDA has confirmed that the hardware for Type 31 will be a mix of new-build equipment and hardware cross-decked from retiring Type 23 frigates.

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