The New Zealand Ministry of Defence has awarded a contract to MBDA to integrate its Sea Ceptor air-defence missile system in the local area air-defence (LAAD) system of its ANZAC-class frigates.
Awarded as part of the Royal New Zealand Navy’s (RNZN) ANZAC frigate systems upgrade (FSU) project, the latest contract comes in the wake of Sea Ceptor’s selection by the navy in October 2013.
The new system will be deployed on two frigates, the HMNZ Te Kaha (F77) and Te Mana (F111), which will help provide air-defence capability for the host ships and nearby allied crafts.
MBDA UK Technical managing director and group executive director Steve Wadey said the agreement marks ‘the first success in the global market outside the UK for Sea Ceptor’.
"Cooperation between the governments and the navies of the UK and New Zealand will continue to be important to delivering an excellent Sea Ceptor capability throughout the life of the project," Wadey said.
Based on the anti-air modular missile (CAMM) being developed by the UK unit of MBDA, the Sea Ceptor can fly at speeds of up to mach 3 and simultaneously engage multiple targets.
The 3.2m-long missile, which can travel at speeds of more than 2,000 miles per hour, can intercept supersonic combat aircraft and missiles and neutralise them, while protecting the host ship.
Playing a key role in the overall project, the LAAD Sea Ceptor system is aimed at ensuring that critical elements of the RNZN fleet are best equipped to counteract emerging threats and ensure the safety frigates, as well as high-value components in concert.
In 2013, the British Ministry of Defence awarded MBDA a £250m deal, starting in 2016, to develop the missile for installation on the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates and the new Type 26 frigates, which are scheduled to be commissioned in 2021.
Image: A graphic illustration of the Sea Ceptor missile system. Photo: courtesy of MBDA.