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Royal Navy's Type 23 frigates test Sea Ceptor air defence system

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Sea Ceptor salvo firing trial from a Type 23 frigate. An MBDA photo

LONDON (BNS): The Royal Navy's Type 23 frigates are moving ahead to operationalise the new Sea Ceptor air defence system.

The MBDA-built Sea Ceptor, designed to protect warships from air and sea attacks, has completed qualification test firings from onboard the HMS Argyll, one of the Type 23 frigates.

"Following on from the first round of trials this summer, the second set of trials from HMS Argyll saw the system tested against more complex scenarios, including rapidly engaging multiple simultaneous threats," MBDA said in a statement on Wednesday.

With HMS Argyll having completed development testing of Sea Ceptor, the weapon system is now being rolled out to the Royal Navy's other Type 23 frigates.

HMS Westminster, the second frigate of the class, has also test fired the missile successfully just weeks after its test from HMS Argyll, according to the Royal Navy.

The test was the first of a series of installation test firings onboard the HMS Westminster, MBDA said, adding that each Sea Ceptor platform would similarly complete an installation test firing in due course as they prepare to re-join frontline service after their refits.

Sea Ceptor is replacing SeaWolf – introduced in the 1970s – as the protector of the Royal Navy frigates against aircraft and missile attack.

The new weapon features many advancements, including a powerful rocket motor that provides double the range of Sea Wolf, and active radar-seeker that allows it to engage targets without the need for complex and costly target illuminators.

The missile system can provide additional protection for a naval task group on top of the long-range Sea Viper missiles carried by the Type 45 destroyers of the Royal Navy.

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