British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract to Systems Engineering & Assessment (Sea) to upgrade the UK Royal Navy’s (RN) Type 23 frigates.

Valued at £34m, the contract was placed and negotiated by Maritime Equipment and Warfare (MEWT) team of Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the UK MoD’s procurement arm. 

The initial five-year deal comes with an additional option of extension for another five years to support onboard systems, along with provision for spares.

Under this contract, the company will provide a series of technical upgrades to various weapon systems aboard the RN’s Type 23 or Duke-class frigates.

Work includes upgrading some of the vessels’ Magazine torpedo launch system, a close-range anti-submarine weapon system that launches torpedoes using tube mounted in ship’s magazine.

It will also involve providing electronic upgrades to ship’s Seagnat system used for protecting the ship against incoming missiles.

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In addition, the deal includes enhancing fleet’s threat countermeasure capabilities that will allow frigates to continue deterring hostile anti-ship missiles.

Apart from Type 23 work, SEA will update the Seagnat systems of the Type 45 or Daring-class destroyers and Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker vessels.

Other equipment supported under this deal include Air Weapons Handling, which is used on different RN ships.

All the critical system upgrades will ensure that the fleet can operate reliably throughout the service life.

Work under the contract is expected to sustain nearly 150 job opportunities across the country, specifically in Beckington, Bristol and Barnstaple.

UK RN Ships deputy director commodore Paul Pitcher said: “This timely upgrade package for key elements of our anti-submarine and electronic warfare capabilities will help maintain RN’s fighting edge and in turn extend operating lives of the warships in which these capabilities are integrated.”