Missile manufacturer MBDA, a multinational group owned by EADS, BAE Systems and Finmeccanica, has won a contract worth £483m to develop a new supersonic missile defence system for the Royal Navy.
The Ministry of Defence announced the contract in a statement today.
The system, known as Sea Ceptor, will be used to intercept and destroy missiles within a 500-mile radius travelling at supersonic speed both at sea and on land (it can deal with multiple targets at once). It will be developed under a “demonstration” contract that is expected to last for five years.
The Sea Wolf air defence system will go out of service in 2016, and Sea Ceptor will take its place on the Type 23 frigate and, at a later stage, on the planned new Type 26. In the future it could also be used by the Army and the RAF.
The MoD said: “This contract will sustain around 500 jobs in MBDA and its supply chain, in key locations across the UK such as Stevenage, Filton and Lostock.”
MBDA is the world’s second-largest missile manufacturer after US company Raytheon.