New air defence system unveiled
The Royal Navy has revealed details of a new air defence system capable of destroying enemy missiles travelling at supersonic speeds.
Sea Ceptor missiles fired from Navy warships will reach speeds of up to Mach 3 and can protect an area of around 500 sq miles over land or sea.
The £483 million contract to develop the cutting-edge missile defence system has been awarded to MBDA (UK).
The Ministry of Defence said the five-year project would sustain around 500 jobs in MBDA and its supply chain in facilities across the UK including at Stevenage in Hertfordshire, Filton in South Gloucestershire and Lostock in Bolton.
Sea Ceptor will initially be used on the Navy's Type 23 frigates, but in the future it could be adapted for use by the Army and RAF.
Defence Equipment Minister Peter Luff said: "The development of this missile system is a huge boost to the UK's world-leading missile industry and once again proves our commitment to providing battle-winning technology to our armed forces."
The head of the Navy, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, added: "This new weapon system will equip our frigates to deal with the type of sophisticated missile threat expected in the coming decades.
"Investment in advanced defence technology, such as Sea Ceptor, is vital to ensure the Royal Navy's continued ability to defend the UK's interests wherever necessary."