Feeds

Navy's £1bn+ destroyers set to remain unarmed for years

Ex-British miracle missiles in new test FAIL

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The "Sea Viper" missile system for the Royal Navy's new Type 45 destroyers looks set to suffer further setbacks following a reported failure during test firings. The weapons are already so late that the first £1bn+ Type 45 has been in naval service for nearly a year - almost completely unarmed.

HMS <em>Daring</em> during sea trials

Might as well park her up for a bit, lads. You're wasting your time

News of the test failure comes courtesy of the Ares blog, reporting remarks by Andrew Tyler of the UK Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation.

“[The test failure] has been a setback," says the MoD mandarin.

“We are working extremely hard with the other partner nations and the company to resolve what the problems were with the final firing ... [It is] too early to come up with the diagnosis.”

Sea Viper is the Royal Navy's name for its version of the Principal Anti Air Missile System (PAAMS), European industry's answer to the highly successful American Aegis/Standard, which has nowadays developed to the point of being able to shoot down satellites in low orbit. Sea Viper/PAAMS is largely French and Italian in origin, but includes some British technology too.

The system's promised special sauce is that it is supposed to be able to knock down supersonic sea-skimming antiship missiles, a thing that even the latest Standard SM-2s may be unable to do. Such missiles are a terrible threat to surface ships without air cover, as they will only be seen by a mast-mounted radar as they emerge above the horizon during the final minute of their flight. Sea Viper/PAAMS is supposed to be able to detect a hostile shipkiller the second it appears, fire an Aster countermissile almost instantly, tip the Aster over from its vertical launch and fly it to intercept the shipkiller head-on at a closing speed in excess of Mach 5.

There has always been some doubt as to whether this is worth doing - it would be cheaper and simpler to deliver maritime air cover from carriers than provide every convoy or task group with a screen of £1bn+ destroyers. Airborne radar can cover vast areas of ocean, tracking sea-skimmers over their entire flight, and patrolling jets would have a much easier task taking down the shipkillers with time in hand from behind - or, even easier, attacking the plane or ship carrying them.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.