The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract to upgrade the weapon systems of the Royal Navy’s (RN) Type 45 Daring-class destroyers.

The initial order has been placed with MBDA. The contract works may be valued at more than $376m (£300m) when delivered, and will support around 100 jobs across the UK.

This comes nearly a year after MBDA secured a contract to equip the Type 45 vessels with the Sea Ceptor or Common Anti-Air Missile (CAMM) air defence missile system.

The Sea Ceptor missile system will enhance the destroyers’ missile outload from 48% to 72%.

Under the new contract, the fleet of six Type 45 destroyers, which includes HMS Daring, Dauntless, Diamond, Dragon, Defender and Duncan, will receive crucial upgrades to its principal weapon system, the Sea Viper command and control missile system.

The entire Sea Viper Evolution programme will also include updating the Sampson multi-function radar (MFR) and converting the existing missiles to the ASTER 30 Block 1 standard.

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RN HMS Duncan weapon engineer officer lieutenant commander Stephen Ashley said: “The new maritime ballistic missile defence capability will really increase our ability to operate freely in the more hostile parts of the world, as we can now see and engage these high-end missiles.

“It will also deepen our role with Nato as we can now integrate into the wider allied ballistic missile defence network.”

Each Type 45 Daring-class destroyer includes up to 48 Sea Viper missiles, which can target aerial threats at a range of up to 75 miles. The destroyers rely on two radar systems including Sampson and Long Range, capable of tracking targets at a distance of 250 miles.

The Sea Viper’s upgrade will allow the RN’s Type 45 vessels to defend the Maritime Strike Group and surface fleet against complex and evolving air threats.