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constantly illuminated from the ship so that the missile
can be guided to the target.
This requires a lot of power and a lot of shipboard
equipment - about 12 refrigerator-size cabinets. It is also
very expensive to maintain and about six months training
is required for operators and maintainers to be qualified.
Collier says the Sea Ceptor is an active missile which
takes advantage of new technology developed about
four years ago.
“The difference there, as I described it to one of
my colleagues, is that from all these cabinets you can
now fit the same energy and technology into a Coke
can-sized canister in the front of the missile. In other
words you fire the missile, you tell it where it’s going to,
you tell it in general terms where the target is, it then
does its own thing.
“All of those aerials and sensors, cabinetry, the
maintenance and training go out the window.”
Colliers says the timing of Sea Ceptor’s development
was ideal for the frigate system upgrade.
“The delay we had with the 2010 White Paper
actually allowed the technology from the UK MOD
or the Royal Navy’s common anti-air modular missile
(CAMM) system to mature to the point that it was an
acceptable solution for us.”
Significant advantages include the fact it takes a lot
of weight off the ships and there are fewer moving parts
like the requirement for a continuously rotating radar to
illuminate the target.
“It is cost effective, it is less maintenance, it is more
robust, doesn’t take as much power and saves a lot of
“We are taking about 117 tonnes off the ship. We’re
putting about the same amount on. That is not because
of the missile system but because other systems are
heavier, but I would say at least 10 tonnes would be
attributed to the missile system.”
Collier is not prepared to give details of Sea Ceptor
missile performance but says it has a similar range to
the ESSM and it is able to deal with the current missile
The Sea Ceptor, which has been touted as a bedrock
of Royal Navy air defence for decades to come, is going
into the Royal Navy’s Type 23 Duke Class frigates, its
new Type 26 global combat ships and Type 45 Daring
Class air defence destroyers. The first missiles are
expected to enter service next year as the Type 23
frigates begin their refit programme.
New Zealand is the first export customer and is
buying 20 launchers per ship. The current Mk41 VLS
launcher system, which is capable of taking a range of
missiles from Standard and Tomahawk to Sea Sparrow,
is being removed. The new standalone launchers, which
can only take Sea Ceptor missiles, are much smaller.
They will take space on just one of the three decks
occupied by the Mk41 launcher system and free up a
lot of additional room on the frigates.
Collier says that while the Sea Ceptor was designed
specifically as an anti-air and anti-missile missile it
could well be used to target a ship if the algorithms are
However, the frigates will be equipped with
Kongsberg’s Penguin Mark 3 air-to-surface missiles on
the newly delivered former Australian Kaman SH-2G
helicopters, replacing older Maverick-armed SH-2G
(NZ) aircraft which have in turn been sold to Peru.
Another major advance with the frigate system
upgrade is the addition of Airborne Systems Europe
FDS3 corner reflector decoy defence against the latest
Collier says each frigate will be equipped with four
deck-mounted decoy launch tubes. These launch large
fast-inflating decoys which inflate alongside the ship’s
hull like a very large life raft or balloon which will float
past the stern as the ship steams on. They are designed
to provide a bigger radar target and draw incoming
missiles away from the ship.
They will also be equipped with more advanced
new chaff dispensers and the British-made Sea Sentor
torpedo defence system, a towed array to detect
and classify torpedoes, command defensive ship
manoeuvres and deploy decoys. This replaces the old
Nixie decoy system which is unable to classify incoming
torpedoes or provide other counter measures.
The present Mark 46 torpedoes and five inch gun
will remain although the gun fire unit will be changed
to integrate with the new combat management system.
Ship profiles will also be modified with a new mast.
“The current mast won’t take all the stuff we’re putting
up there and it also has a terrible radar cross section.
It is all latticed framework and we are going for a solid
angled mast which reduces the radar cross section and
gives the opportunity to put a lot of stuff inside rather
than being exposed to the weather.”
The current mast is a maintenance nightmare and it is
going to be so much easier to run all the cabling to the
different sensors and aerials.
The long-planned FSU upgrade project is still in
the preliminary design stage with work being done
by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Australia (TKMA).
Detailed design is expected to be completed late next
year as the first ship goes into installation and refit.
Collier says they are expecting the refit and
completion of trails to take about a year on each ship
and the project is expected to be completed in late
2017 or early 2018.
The Te Mana is expected to be the first ship in line for
the upgrade but that could change.
The work will be done by Lockheed Martin Canada
under a contract awarded last year. It will follow on from
a similar upgrade programme for the Royal Canadian
Navy’s 12 Halifax class frigates which is due to be
completed next year. It has been estimated that there
is a 70 percent commonality of work on the Halifax and
Anzac class ships.
The heart of the upgrade will be Lockheed Martin’s
CMS 330 combat management system. The CanACCS
9LV system will provide up to nine multi-functional work
stations, each with three screens, for the ship’s combat
The project is budgeted to cost $446 million plus
contingencies. The Lockheed Martin contract is for
$207 million and work is expected to be done at
Dartmouth, Kanata, Montreal and the Seaspan shipyard
in Victoria, British Columbia.
" The most surprising element of the upgrade is the decision to opt
for the British developed MBDA local area air defence Sea Ceptor
missile system to replace the RIM-7 Sea Sparrows "
RNZN’s SH-2G (I) Super Seasprites (Hank Schoutens)
17/09/2015 5:21 pm
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