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SEA wins out for UK naval decoy launcher competition

SEA's Ancilia trainable decoy launcher system has been selected to meet the UK's EWCM Increment 1a requirement. (SEA)

Systems Engineering & Assessment (SEA) has been selected by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to satisfy its requirement for a new trainable decoy launcher to enable soft-kill protection of Royal Navy (RN) Type 45 destroyers, Type 26 frigates, and Type 31 frigates.

On 26 March the MoD announced that SEA (part of the Cohort Group) had been selected to deliver the Electronic Warfare Counter Measures (EWCM) Increment 1a programme. Valued at GBP135 million (USD170 million), the contract will see the North Devon-based company supply its new Ancilia trainable decoy launcher system for service with the RN.

SEA was selected ahead of a rival bid from Elbit Systems UK. A total of 38 trainable launchers will be fitted across 19 vessels, with further systems being procured to support land-based integration, testing, and training activity. Deliveries are expected to begin in late 2026 to meet a third quarter (Q3) 2027 initial operating capability.

EWCM Increment 1a forms part of an overarching Maritime Electronic Warfare Programme (MEWP) intended to recapitalise RN surface ship electronic surveillance, electronic warfare command and control (EWC2), and soft-kill anti-ship missile defence (ASMD).

RN warships are currently equipped with a fixed 130 mm decoy launch system designated Outfit DLH. EWCM Increment 1a is focused on the acquisition of a new trainable decoy launcher system that will be capable of deploying both future and legacy ASMD countermeasure rounds – the latter stipulation conditions compatibility with the 130 mm calibre Mk 216 and Mk 217 radio frequency (RF) distraction decoys and the 130 mm Mk 245 submunition-based infrared seduction decoy.

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