Feeds

Duff French missiles for Royal Navy finally fixed

New £1bn destroyers get post-1940s weaponry at last

Business security measures using SSL

Problems with the primary armament of the Royal Navy's new, £1bn+ Type 45 destroyers have been rectified, according to reports.

Aster missiles being fired in trials. Credit: MBDA

Eighth time's the charm

The Royal Navy already has two Type 45s, HMS Daring and HMS Dauntless, but test-firings last year of their main armament - the Principal Anti Air Missile System (PAAMS, the British configuration of which is known as "Sea Viper") - were failures, meaning that the weapons could not be accepted into service.

This left the Type 45s - one of which is already on her second captain - almost unarmed, packing only a 4.5-inch bombardment gun and a couple of light 30mm cannon.

The failed test firings were blamed on a problem with the French "Aster" missiles used by Sea Viper. This has meant a design change and delayed deliveries, but pan-European missile firm MBDA, maker of the Aster, now says that the redesigned missiles have been successfully tested.

According to a statement issued today by MBDA:

Over the last month, firings have been carried out from the Italian Orizzonte frigate “Andrea Doria”, the French Horizon frigate “Forbin” and the UK trials barge “Longbow” at two different ranges in the Mediterranean. The trials were conducted over a range of scenarios of steadily increasing complexity, culminating in a final trial featuring a salvo firing against a sea skimming target performing a high-g terminal manoeuvre. All the trials were fully successful with both the PAAMS ship equipment and Aster missiles operating as expected in each case. This draws to a close the complex and high intensity investigation launched within MBDA after problems encountered in two firing trials last year.

According to the firm, four firings in all were carried out.

"MBDA has fully mastered the technical issue with the Aster," states company CEO Antoine Bouvier.

The new test results should mean that the Royal Navy's ships, once their magazines can be filled with new re-designed Asters, will finally be judged combat-worthy later this year.

The Type 45s, however, will still possess no ability to engage surface targets or ones ashore with guided weapons: they will be almost entirely air-defence ships, with some secondary capabilities delivered via their guns and embarked helicopters. It was originally hoped that the destroyers might carry Tomahawk cruise missiles for surface combat and land-attack purposes, but owing to the selection of the Aster missile this isn't simple: had the rival American Standard been chosen the same launch tubes would have done for Tomahawks too, but this is not the case with Aster's "Sylver" launchers.

Nonetheless the captains of the Navy's new billion-pound gunboats will no doubt be looking forward keenly to the prospect of tooling up with some working weapons which weren't in service well before World War II. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.