Two contracts, known as Sea Viper Evolution, aim to enable Type 45 destroyers to defend the Carrier Strike Group against anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs). The third contract provides an extended and enhanced in-service support (ISS) contract for Sea Viper for an additional five years.
As the prime contractor and design authority for the Sea Viper weapon system, MBDA will upgrade the Royal Navy’s existing Aster 30 missiles with Sea Viper Evolution. This upgrade includes improved Block 1 warheads and new guidance and seeker software to address new anti-ship ballistic missile threats while maintaining its anti-air warfare capability. The Type 45’s Sampson multi-function radar and combat management system will also undergo upgrades.
The second part of Sea Viper Evolution involves an assessment phase to consider adding the new Aster 30 Block 1NT missile to the Type 45 destroyers, along with further improvements to the radar and the overall weapon system, providing advanced capabilities against medium-range maneuvering and separating ballistic missiles.
The extended ISS contract will leverage MBDA’s data-driven approach to optimize stockpile availability, ensuring the Royal Navy has weapons ready when needed. The contracts also signal increased collaboration with France and Italy through MBDA by joining the Aster 30 Block 1 program, enhancing the UK’s ability to counter anti-ship ballistic missiles.
Chris Allam, Managing Director of MBDA UK, stated that these contracts would make Sea Viper the most capable naval air defense system developed for the Royal Navy in its 60-year history as the primary air defense system supplier. The upgrades will enhance cooperation with France and Italy, demonstrating the UK’s capability to counter anti-ship ballistic missiles.