Feeds

Duff French missiles for Royal Navy finally fixed

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

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.