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Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM)

A world-class missile system to protect the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers has officially entered service, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced 24 May 2018. Sea Ceptor provides a powerful shield against airborne threats, including hostile combat jets, helicopters and other missiles, and has been developed and manufactured through Ministry of Defence contracts worth around £850m. It will be carried by the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates, and has been successfully demonstrated through a trials and test firing campaign that started in 2017.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Sea Ceptor will protect our nation against the intensifying threats we face today and in the future, giving our ships a powerful shield against everything from supersonic missiles to enemy fighter jets. “Fitting our warships with this ground-breaking technology not only protects our Navy but shows we are world leaders at sea. HMS Argyll will be the first ship to deploy with this cutting-edge system when she heads to support peace and security in the Asia Pacific region later this year.”

Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) is to be used by the Royal Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy in the Sea Ceptor system and the British Army with the Future Local Area Air Defence System (FLAADS) Land system. Sea Ceptor secured its first export order with the signing of a contract on 21st May 2014 for the Royal New Zealand Navy. FLAADS Land entered its Assessment Phase with the signing of a contract with the UK Ministry of Defence on 22nd January 2014. Sea Ceptor was to enter service in 2017 to replace VL Seawolf for the remaining life of the Type 23s, after which it will equip the Royal Navy’s Type 26 Global Combat Ship.

Commonality is the development of common weapon solutions to satisfy multiple project and/or Customer requirements. This significantly reduces both recurring and development costs. Modularity is the sharing of modules, subsystems and technologies between projects, thus reducing both recurring and development costs.

Weight 99 kg
Length 3.2 m
Diameter 166 mm
Range In excess of 25 km
Speed Supersonic
Sea Ceptor is the latest generation, ship-based, all-weather, air defence weapon system, based on the Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM). Through the use of new advanced technologies, Sea Ceptor provides complete protection against all known and projected air targets. The weapon system is now in full-scale development for the UK MOD as the principal air defence capability for the Royal Navy’s Type 23 and Type 26 frigates.

Sea Ceptor will protect both the host ship and high value units in the local area. The Weapon System has the capability to intercept and thereby neutralise the full range of current and future threats including combat aircraft and the new generation of supersonic anti-ship missiles. Capable of multiple channels of fire, the system will also counter saturation attacks. The Sea Ceptor Defence System will deliver significantly greater capability at a reduced cost.

The weapon system can be easily retrofitted into a wide range of platforms, ranging from 50m OPVs to frigates and destroyers. Two main features provide this flexibility. Firstly, the use of “soft-launch” weapon technology for a highly scaleable and compact launch system that can easily be installed in a number of locations. Secondly, Sea Ceptor can be targeted from the ship’s existing surveillance radar sensors and therefore does not require dedicated fire control radars.

Sea Ceptor will operate from the SYLVER and Mk41 launchers using a quad-pack configuration, various flexible canister configurations are also available. The Soft Vertical Launch technology reduces system mass and eases installation. The Command & Control System is designed to enable rapid integration with both new and existing naval combat systems.

Central to Sea Ceptor capability is the use of an advanced weapon command & control system. This system can be configured to either provide the full functionality to operate as an independent air defence capability or to operate as an integrated layer within a higher command & control architecture hosted on the ship’s Combat Management System.

The Portfolio Management Agreement (PMA) between the UK MOD and MBDA provides a contractual framework for the long-term acquisition of the UK’s Complex Weapon (CW) military capability, which aims to improve flexibility and reduce cost. It provides CW military capability to the UK Armed Forces with Freedom of Action and Operational Advantage, allowing them to maintain an edge over adversaries now and in the future. The PMA also ensures the skills and technologies critical for this are maintained in the UK.

MBDA carried out two successful guided firings by the Sea Ceptor air defence system on 29th May and 5th June 2014 at the land-based Vidsel range facilities in Sweden. These firings were the first seeker guided firings for the Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM), including using its two-way data link to communicate with the Sea Ceptor system. The trial demonstrated the functionality of Sea Ceptor’s Command and Control (C2) system and its ability to process data from a third party radar and then command an engagement by a CAMM missile. The CAMMs both performed as expected, with their active Radio Frequency (RF) seeker acquiring the targets shortly after launch and staying in track until they intercepted their respective targets. These firings build on a previous campaign of successful CAMM instrumented firings completed in April 2013, as well as extensive seeker data gathering trials.

Lockheed Martin was concluding production of its 3-Cell ExLS Stand Alone Launcher designed to fire MBDA’s Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) in October 2015 and, following qualification testing in mid-2016, would be available for use by Allied Navies around the Globe. The 3-Cell Extensible Launching System (ExLS) CAMM Launcher is specifically designed for smaller naval platforms that are unable to accommodate the larger 8-cell MK41 Vertical Launch System.

“One of the unique features of ExLS is the ability to reuse already qualified missile components, including canisters and their missile launch sequencing electronics, then adapt them to integrate into a MK 41 VLS using a Host variant, or in a 3-Cell Standalone variant for platforms without VLS”, said Jennifer Houston-Manchester, Lockheed Martin ExLS Engineering Program Manager. Tim Mansfield, Head of Sea Ceptor/ CAMM New Business for MBDA explains that “The ExLS components are common for all platforms. Using this approach extends the capabilities of the platforms, and reduces missile integration risks and costs.”

The announcement followed the successful September 2013 test by Lockheed Martin and MBDA of the first launch of a CAMM from the MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) launcher using the Host variant of the ExLS. Lockheed Martin and MBDA announced in May 2013 a cooperative effort between the two companies to offer MBDA missile systems for use with the MK 41 and ExLS family of launchers. The system uses MBDA’s soft vertical launch technology to eject the CAMM from its canister and position the missile for main motor ignition.

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Page last modified: 07-06-2018 18:58:54 ZULU