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Royal Navy Air Defence Missile Scores A Bull's-Eye

Ministry Of Defence (UK)

Royal Navy Missile Scores A Bull's-Eye

The Royal Navy's latest air defence missile demonstrated its prowess when it scored a direct hit on a sub-sonic target during trials in the Mediterranean.

The PAAMS air defence system (Principal Anti-Air Missile System) launched a missile at over 3045 mph (mach 4) off the French coast on 4 June. It achieved a direct hit on a Mirach target simulating an aircraft travelling at 450 mph and at a 10km altitude.

The highly sophisticated system has been designed to allow the new Type 45 Destroyer to defend the fleet against anti-ship missiles approaching from any direction and at supersonic speeds.

Rear Admiral Bob Cooling, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff, said: "The Royal Navy is delighted with the successful firing of PAAMS. We are looking forward to this world class capability entering service on board the Type 45 Daring Class destroyers."

Dave Twitchin, MoD Director of Destroyers, said: "The first firing was a tense moment, and the culmination of much innovation and development which made the direct hit all the more exciting.

"This is just the first in a series of trials to come, but it is a significant milestone along the way. All the teams that have worked closely together are rightly proud of the work they've done."

The PAAMS system, which has been developed by MBDA, will defend the fleet against attack from both aircraft and multiple sea-skimming supersonic missiles.

Integral to PAAMS is the Sampson Multi Function Radar which tracks targets and directs missiles towards them. This element is a bespoke design developed by BAE Systems to meet the Royal Navy's very specific requirements.

The trials were conducted from a 12,000 tonne converted barge which carried a full replica of the air defence equipment the new Type 45 destroyers will carry, include long range and missile directing radars, an combat control centre and missiles in their vertical launcher silos.


1. PAAMS is a Maritime area air defence system composed of the Sampson radar, a Combat Management System, long range radar, the Sylver missile launching system and Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles.

2. The Aster missiles are capable of speeds in excess of mach four and are highly agile, using an innovative system called 'Pif Paf' which combines conventional aerodynamic control with a novel lateral thrust system. The missile used in this test was a two-stage Aster 30.

3. The first Type 45 Destroyer, DARING, successfully completed its second set of sea trials in May. DRAGON, the fourth ship in the class, is due to be launched in November.

Client ref 111/2008
COI ref 161924P


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