MBDA has been awarded three contracts worth around £400 million to upgrade and support the Sea Viper primary area air defense system of the Royal Navy’s Type 45 warships.
Two contracts, dubbed Sea Viper Evolution, will allow the Type 45 Destroyers to protect the Carrier Strike Group against anti-ship ballistic missiles. Meanwhile, another contract will prolong and expand Sea Viper’s in-service support (ISS) contract for another five years. MBDA is the primary contractor and design authority for the Sea Viper weapon system, which includes the sensor (radar), command and control system, and missile.
Chris Allam, Managing Director of MBDA UK, said: “These contracts will make Sea Viper the most capable naval air defence system ever developed for the Royal Navy in our 60 year history as the Navy’s primary air defence system supplier. They will also see the UK further enhance the co-operation with France and Italy through MBDA by joining the Aster 30 Block 1 programme, giving the UK the ability to defeat anti-ship ballistic missiles.”
The core component of Sea Viper Evolution will see the Royal Navy’s existing Aster 30 missiles upgraded with Block 1 warheads and improved guidance and seeker software to deal with new anti-ship ballistic missile threats, while maintaining its world-leading anti-air warfare capability. The Type 45’s Sampson multi-function radar and combat management system will also be updated. The work is being carried out in collaboration with BAE Systems Maritime Services by an integrated team from MBDA based in the United Kingdom, France and Italy.
Scott Jamieson, Managing Director, BAE Systems’ Maritime Services business, said: “Our Radar business is excited to be working with MBDA on the Sea Viper Evolution upgrade to our SAMPSON Radar on board the UK’s Type 45 Destroyers. This new capability will form a key element of the UK’s Maritime Ballistic Missile Defence programme.”
The second phase of Sea Viper Evolution is an assessment phase that will evaluate the addition of the new Aster 30 Block 1NT missile to the Type 45 destroyers, as well as further improvements to the radar and the overall weapon system, to provide world-class capabilities against medium-range manoeuvring and separating ballistic missiles.
The extended ISS contract will build on MBDA’s pioneering data-driven approach to optimising stockpile availability, ensuring the Royal Navy’s weapons are ready when needed.