Royal Navy Vessel Triumphs in World’s Largest Naval and Missile Defense Exercise

In the most extensive global test of naval and missile defenses, a Royal Navy warship successfully obliterated a jet drone. The HMS Defender traveled to the Outer Hebrides in Scotland to partake in Formidable Shield 2023, collaborating with 13 NATO and partner nations to evaluate missiles, systems, sensors, and software against a range of targets, including ballistic, subsonic, and supersonic.

The Type 45 led to the Royal Navy’s involvement as a dedicated air defense destroyer. The endeavor culminated in deploying its Sea Viper missile system, the primary weapon of the £1bn warship, in a mission to identify and destroy a drone designed for difficult tracking and interception.

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Royal Navy Vessel Triumphs in World's Largest Naval and Missile Defense Exercise

The Sea Viper missile, operated by Petty Officer Cameron McDonnell, was launched from the Defender to target the highly agile drone, coded Bruiser 9384, capable of traveling hundreds of miles per hour. ‘Bruiser’ is the NATO codeword for an anti-ship missile.

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McDonnell shared that they have been testing experimental hardware and software to stretch their sensors to the limit in preparation for future combats. The team successfully tracked ballistic, subsonic, and supersonic targets in cooperation with their allies and partners, with the final stage involving a live missile engagement against an uncrewed aerial vehicle.

HMS Defender offered a protective shield using its unique Sampson and Long Range radar systems. These combined radar systems make the Type 45s the world’s leading air defense ships, enabling them to track hundreds of targets up to 250 miles away.

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These technologies comprise the Sea Viper system, equipping the Defender to precisely locate and track a target before launching the Aster 30 missile.

Each Type 45 destroyer is armed with up to 48 missiles, each stored in a vertical-launch silo at the ship’s bow and capable of neutralizing aerial threats up to 75 miles away.

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