The UK Royal Navy’s Duke-class type 23 frigate HMS Richmond (F239) has successfully test fired its the Seawolf Missile System as part of the live firing exercise off the south coast exercise areas.

The trials involved the launch of two Seawolf surface-to-air missiles, which successfully hit the fast two designated sea skimming targets, and validated its capability.

Aimed at offering a vital self-defence capability, the anti-air warfare system enables the type 23 frigate to protect itself, as well as other vessels from missile and fast jet attacks.

"The ship is well-trained and well-drilled in conducting these types of firings."

Weapon engineer officer lieutenant commander Jim Sampson said: "HMS Richmond is an agile, adaptable, multi-purpose frigate, that may be deployed at short notice in a wide variety of scenarios, she must be ready to defend herself, and protect others at all times.

"This type of firing proves she is capable of just that, there is no substitute for a live firing to confirm the system is working correctly, and can deal with the latest threats.

"Whilst a lot of preparation goes into a peacetime missile firing, the Seawolf system is always ready to go at extremely short notice."

Integrated with command to line-of-sight (CLOS) guidance and radar and electro-optic tracking capabilities, the missile is claimed to be capable of destroying a target the size of a cricket ball, travelling at three times the speed of sound at a 6km range.

The 133m-long Duke-class frigates, which are capable of accommodating 185 crew members, have been designed to provide anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) capabilities.

The vessel is currently undergoing training at sea for deployment next year.

HMS Richmond gunnery officer lieutenant commander Paul Irving said: "The ship is well-trained and well-drilled in conducting these types of firings. Great care is taken to ensure their success."

Image: Seawolf Missile System being fired from HMS Richmond. Photo: courtesy of UK Royal Navy.

Defence Technology