New Sea Ceptor Missiles to Be Developed for Royal Navy
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Jan. 30, 2012)
Computer-generated imagery of the future Sea Ceptor local area air-defense system that MBDA will develop for the Royal Navy to replace Seawolf. (UK MoD image)
The MOD has confirmed the development of a new Royal Navy missile defence system which will be able to intercept and destroy enemy missiles travelling at supersonic speeds.

The £483m contract to develop this cutting-edge air defence system - known as Sea Ceptor - is being awarded to UK industry.

The system uses a new UK-developed missile capable of reaching speeds of up to Mach 3 and will have the ability to deal with multiple targets simultaneously, protecting an area of around 500 square miles (1,300 square kilometres) over land or sea.

Sea Ceptor will be developed under a demonstration contract with MBDA (UK) that is expected to last for five years.

This contract will sustain around 500 jobs in MBDA and its supply chain in key locations across the UK such as Stevenage, Filton and Lostock.

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Peter Luff said:

"The development of this missile system is a huge boost to the UK's world-leading missile industry and once again proves our commitment to providing battle-winning technology for our Armed Forces.

"The introduction of this cutting-edge missile system will not only ensure that the Royal Navy will be able to continue protecting our interests wherever they may be, but is also highly significant in sustaining and developing the UK's skill in building complex weapons."

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope said:

"This new weapon system will equip our frigates to deal with the type of sophisticated missile threat expected in the coming decades. Investment in advanced defence technology, such as Sea Ceptor, is vital to ensure the Royal Navy's continued ability to defend the UK's interests wherever necessary."

Chief of Defence Materiel Bernard Gray said:

"There is no room for complacency when it comes to providing the Armed Forces with the kit that they require and the development of Sea Ceptor is testament to the forward-thinking attitude of the MOD. While we are committed to providing our Armed Forces with the kit they need now it is also vital that we have one eye on the future and the threats that may face us."

Sea Ceptor has been designed for initial use on the Type 23 frigate to replace the Sea Wolf air defence system when it goes out of service in 2016 and it is planned that it will be used on the Type 26 Global Combat Ship. Its flexible design also means that it could in future be adapted for use by the Army and RAF. (ends)



Sea Ceptor, MBDA’s Next Generation Air Defence System, Gets Go Ahead for Royal Navy Frigates
(Source: MBDA; issued January 30, 2012)
MBDA is pleased to announce the award of the FLAADS (Future Local Area Air Defence System) Demonstration Phase Contract by the Ministry of Defence. Under this £483M contract, MBDA will develop the naval air defence system, named SEA CEPTOR, to replace the Vertical Launch Seawolf currently in service on the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates. Significantly, SEA CEPTOR is also planned to be the principal air defence system on the successor Type 26 Global Combat Ship.

SEA CEPTOR is the second major package of work launched under the Portfolio Management Agreement (PMA) signed between MBDA and the UK MoD in March 2010. Under this Agreement, MBDA has responsibility to lead the transformation of the UK’s Complex Weapons (CW) capability through the management of a portfolio of projects potentially worth up to £4 billion over 10 years. SEA CEPTOR employs the core principles of the PMA and is a major contributor to the financial benefits of the portfolio approach, delivering some £1 Billion of efficiencies for the UK MOD.

Peter Luff - Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology - will visit MBDA staff at Filton today (Monday) to discuss the contract. He said: “The development of this missile system is a huge boost to the UK’s world-leading missile industry and once again proves our commitment to providing battle winning technology to our Armed Forces. The introduction of this cutting edge missile system will not only ensure that the Royal Navy will be able to continue protecting our interests wherever they may be, but is also highly significant in sustaining and developing the UK’s skill in building complex weapons.”

Welcoming the announcement, Executive Group Director Technical and UK Managing Director Steve Wadey said: “This contract is important for a number of reasons. In the first instance it ensures that with SEA CEPTOR the Royal Navy will have the best equipment to protect its ships and crews against the growing threat. The contract is also a powerful example of how industry and the MoD can deliver together an advanced capability that meets military needs in the most cost-effective manner.

“It is also a highly significant step in advancing and sustaining the UK’s mastery of complex weapons technology. Importantly, SEA CEPTOR, ideally suited to the Type 26 Global Combat Ship as well as a wide range of other vessels, is highly relevant to a number of navies around the world who are looking for a next generation naval air defence system capable of countering the growing future anti-ship threat”.

SEA CEPTOR will protect both the host ship and high value units in the local area with its capability to intercept and thereby neutralise the full range of current and future threats including combat aircraft and the new generation of supersonic anti-ship missiles. Capable of multiple channels of fire, the system will also counter saturating attacks. Significantly, with SEA CEPTOR this enhanced level of naval air defence will be provided at lower in-service costs for the remaining life of the Type 23s. It will enter service in the middle of the current decade after which it is planned that it will equip the Royal Navy’s Type 26 Global Combat Ship as that replaces the Type 23 after 2020.

A key design driver behind SEA CEPTOR’s concept lies in its simple integration philosophy. The system has been designed with the Global Combat Ship specifically in mind, however, SEA CEPTOR can be easily retrofitted into a wide range of platforms, ranging from 50m OPVs to large surface vessels. The fact that the system will so easily replace the Type 23’s existing air defence weapon is evidence of its modular flexibility.

Two main features provide this flexibility. SEA CEPTOR is a “soft-launch” weapon which allows for a very compact launch system that can be easily positioned in a number of below and above deck locations. More significantly, as a highly accurate and responsive system with missiles featuring precision guidance, SEA CEPTOR interfaces with the ship’s existing surveillance radar and therefore does not require the dedicated fire control radars on which semi-active systems depend.

FLAADS is the name of the far-reaching MoD programme aimed at delivering a new air defence system not only for the Royal Navy but also for the British Army to replace its Rapier deployable air defence system. At the heart of both systems (SEA CEPTOR for the Royal Navy and the future CEPTOR-based land system for the British Army) is MBDA’s Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM).


The Portfolio Management Agreement first tranche of work included a number programmes intended to deliver unique weapon capabilities that are directly relevant to today’s war fighting environment. These programmes are the Fire Shadow Loitering Munition (LM) for the British Army and the now combat-proven Dual Mode Brimstone in service with the Royal Air Force.

There is a high degree of commonality between SEA CEPTOR and the CEPTOR-based system for the land environment, a feature that contributes significantly to modularity and re-use initiatives in other PMA projects.


With industrial facilities in four European countries and within the USA, in 2010 MBDA achieved a turnover of EUR 2.8 billion with an order book of EUR 10.8 billion. With more than 90 armed forces customers in the world, MBDA is a world leader in missiles and missile systems. MBDA is jointly held by BAE Systems (37.5%), EADS (37.5%) and Finmeccanica (25%).

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