Royal Navy reveals new supersonic anti-missile system

30/01/12

Sea Ceptor missile

A new air defence system that can destroy enemy missiles travelling at supersonic speeds has been revealed by the Royal Navy.

Sea Ceptor missiles fired from warships will reach speeds of up to Mach 3 and protect an area of around 500 sq miles.

The £483 million contract to develop the defence system has been awarded to MBDA (UK).

The Ministry of Defence said the five-year project would mean continued employment for around 500 workers.

Facilities across the UK including at Stevenage in Hertfordshire, Filton in South Gloucestershire and Lostock in Bolton will be used to build the missile system.

Defence Equipment Minister 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 to our armed forces."

To start with, Sea Ceptor will be used on the Royal Navy's Type 23 frigates, but in future it could be adapted for use by the Army and RAF.

The head of the Navy, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, added: "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."