Home Europe Royal Navy upgrading its Type 45 destroyers with Sea Ceptor missile

Royal Navy upgrading its Type 45 destroyers with Sea Ceptor missile

HMS Dragon Sea Viper launch
Royal Navy photo of a Type 45 destroyer launching a Sea Viper missile

The Royal Navy is investing £500m into the upgrade of its six Type 45 destroyers with the Sea Ceptor system, which will provide an extra layer of protection for the ships and the task groups they protect.

What is more, the ships’ existing Sea Viper system – their principal weapon system – will also be enhanced.

The work will see the Sea Ceptor, also known as CAMM (Common Anti-Air Modular Missile), paired with an upgraded Sea Viper command and control (C2) system for the first time.

The Sea Viper C2 is getting a technology upgrade, giving it a major increase in processing power.

The existing 48 Sylver cells on the Type 45 will now be solely for the longer-range Aster 30 missile, which is also subject to a recently announced mid-life refresh. This will see the missile remain in service throughout the life of the Type 45s.

Sea Ceptor is already in service with all 13 Type 23 frigates and will be installed in their successor class currently under construction, the Type 26 and 31 classes.

It’s smaller and has a shorter range than Sea Viper, but Sea Ceptor can protect an area the size of Greater Manchester (500 square miles/1,300 square kilometres) engaging multiple targets simultaneously, reaching speeds of up to three times the speed of sound as it intercepts.

The 45s were built were an additional missile silo as well as spare compartments to meet future requirements and new tech arriving on the scene.

This forward silo space – often used as a gym – will now house 24 Sea Ceptors in what is dubbed “the mushroom farm” due to the black caps on each missile launcher.

“These programs of work will provide an exceptional capability to the front line, ensuring the Royal Navy remains poised to defend the surface fleet – and most importantly the Carrier Strike Group – against complex air threats both now and into the future,” said Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd, Fleet Commander.

The work on integrating the CAMM system into the existing Sea Viper system will be carried out by MBDA UK.

The Aster 30 missile refresh currently in service as part of the Sea Viper system will be carried out by Eurosam.

The first Sea Ceptor-enhanced Type 45 is expected to be delivered by the summer of 2026, with the entire flotilla completed by winter 2032.