The UK Royal Navy’s Type 23 Duke-class frigate, HMS Westminster (F237), has successfully conducted a test launch of its Seawolf air defence missile system off the Isle of Wight.
Capable of holding 1.9m (6ft 3in) missiles, the ship’s new Seawolf missile canisters launched two missiles to validate its capabilities during testing.
The first air defence missile was a telemetry version integrated with sensors to gather readings, while the other one featured a live warhead known as ‘war shot’.
Following their launch from the new canister, the two Seawolf surface-to-air missiles destroyed two targets, with one travelling 20ft above the surface.
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Westminster weapon engineer officer lieutenant commander Mickey Rooney said that both trials were successful in a very crowded sea.
Featuring command to line of sight (CLOS) guidance and radar and electro-optic tracking capability, the Seawolf missile uses forward and back trackers and can destroy a target the size of a cricket ball, travelling at three times the speed of sound at a range of 6km.
In addition to vertical-launch Seawolf (GWS 26 Mod 1 VLS), the Duke-class frigates are armed with eight Harpoon surface-to-surface missiles in two four-cell launchers, as well as four 324mm torpedo tubes capable of carrying Stingray lightweight torpedoes.
Capable of accommodating a crew of 185, the 133m-long Duke-class frigates have been designed to provide anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) capabilities.
HMS Westminster is scheduled for a visit to London, after then the vessel will set sail to berth next to HMS Belfast.
Image: HMS Westminster launches a Seawolf missile during trials off the Isle of Wight. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.