LONDON - The UK has test-fired a new version of the Sea Ceptor missile system after fitting it on a Royal Navy warship, according to the British Ministry of Defense.
The test involved firing two of the new missiles from Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll, the first warship to receive the system, the MoD stated on its official website Wednesday.
The missile system is designed to protect British military forces against airborne targets such as hostile fighter jets and helicopters, as well missiles travelling at supersonic speeds.
“In the face of intensifying global threats, cutting-edge systems like Sea Ceptor will keep the UK safe,” said Minister for Defense Procurement Harriett Baldwin. “These successful trials from HMS Argyll mark a major milestone towards the introduction of this world-class missile system into service for the Royal Navy.”
Developed by weapons manufacturer MBDA, the missile system can reach speeds of around three times the speed of sound and can shoot down airborne targets over an area of around 500 square miles (1,300 square kilometers) over land or sea.
According to Baldwin, Sea Ceptor’s production supports around 600 MBDA jobs across the UK such as Bristol, Stevenage and Bolton.
The test began by putting the system against a single aerial target first and went on to include more complex tests involving multiple targets.
Sea Ceptor was first tested from HMS Westminster, the second warship to receive the system, in November.
The system will replace the Sea Wolf missile system deployed on the Type 23 frigates. The UK Navy’s future Type 26 Frigates will also be armed with the new system.
“Whether it’s engaging multiple air threats or fast incoming attack craft, Sea Ceptor represents a massive capability upgrade for the Type 23 frigate,” said Lieutenant Nick Andrews, HMS Westminster’s Anti-Air-Warfare Officer.
The UK has been running major upgrade programs for several of its strategic missiles, including a joint project with France to design a replacement for Storm Shadow/ SCALP EG long-range cruise missiles for the British and French air forces.