The British Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender has tested its Sea Viper missile system off the coast of Scotland.

Travelling at four times the speed of sound (Mach 4), the missile hit an incoming drone target. Designed to simulate a projectile attack on the warship, the target flew faster and lower than the ones previously used.

The test represents the first time HMS Defender showcased its missile firing capability against this particular type of target.

In a statement, the Royal Navy stated that the successful test proved the ship’s ability to defend itself and other vessels from the incoming threat. It was conducted as part of US Navy-led Nato Exercise Formidable Shield.

HMS Defender senior warfare officer lieutenant commander Daniel Lee said: “Being a part of our first firing against a fast-moving, low-level target has been a really rewarding experience.

“Proving the effectiveness of the Sea Viper system against a more challenging target reassures us in the ability of HMS Defender to deliver on operations as an air defence destroyer.”

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The UK’s Sea Viper air missile defence system comprises the Sampson radar and the Aster missile system.

“The UK’s Sea Viper air missile defence system comprises the Sampson radar and the Aster missile system.”

While the radar system is on top of a Type 45 destroyer’s main mast, the Aster missile system is positioned in a silo on the ship’s upper deck.

Sea Viper has the ability to track aircraft and other objects, identify threats, and destroy them when necessary.

Alongside HMS Defender, the ten-day exercise involved assets belonging to nine other navies at the Hebrides range in Scotland.