Royal Navy Awards MBDA Contract for Sea Viper Support

by: Matthew Potter
May 24, 2011

Category: BAE Systems, Business Line, Companies, Contract Additions, Contract Awards, Countries, development program, Editorial, England, Events, missile defense, production program, Services | RSS 2.0

Fresh off the first firing of the Sea Viper air defense missile from the Type 45 Destroyer, HMS Daring, MBDA was awarded a long term support contract for the system. Sea Viper utilizes the joint Ango-French-Italian company’s Aster 15 & 30 missiles. This is the primary armament for the new British fleet air defense ship.

The firing comes three years after the ship was commissioned and represents a major milestone for the program. The Sea Viper is the result of the Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS) developed by The multi-mode radar, Sampson, that supports the missile is made by BAE Systems (BAE:LSE) for the Royal Navy. Sea Viper includes the Aster missile, Sampson radar and the vertical launch canister system. The Type 45 is similar to the AEGIS missile destroyers and cruisers utilized by the U.S. Navy for self, air and missile defense.

MBDA’s support contract is worth about $270 million over the next six years. So far two ships have been commissioned with HMS Dauntless joining the Daring. Three others are under construction with a sixth planned.

The history of the class demonstrates what happens to many modern weapon systems where the development time for different components are not even. In this case the radar and hull were ready well before the missile and for a time the ships were limited to their gun armament. The Sea Viper is also not unique in having teething problems as many modern missiles have taken longer then planned.

Photo from Bob the courier’s Flickr photostream.

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