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UK: £300m Contracts For Seawolf Missiles Support

Ministry Of Defence (UK)

£300m support contracts for Navy missiles

Support for the Seawolf air defence missile system, which equips Royal Navy Type 22 and Type 23 frigates, is to be radically revamped under contracts worth around £300M, Minister for Defence Equipment Support Baroness Ann Taylor announced today.

Seawolf is a proven naval close air defence system fitted to Type 22 and Type 23 frigates offering an all-weather, day and night point defence capability.

Contracts have been awarded to BAE Systems Insyte and MBDA, under the SWISS (Seawolf In Service Support) project to sustain the capability of the Seawolf system and ensure its readiness and improve its availability to the front-line fleet by at least 25 per cent over the next nine years.

BAE Systems Insyte and MBDA have been working together, and with the MOD, over the past two years to develop the optimum Seawolf support solution.

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Baroness Taylor said:

"Seawolf is one of the most potent naval air-defence systems in the world and with the roll-out of capability enhancements over the next few years, it will continue to form the mainstay of the defensive capability of the frigate fleet. The award of these contracts demonstrates our long term partnership with industry to ensure a flexible and more effective Seawolf support package for the Royal Navy."

MoD Defence Equipment and Support Short Range Air Defence Team Leader, Capt Brian Archibald said:

"The placing of the SWISS contracts is the culmination of an enormous amount of hard work by the MOD and industry teams. It will bring at least a 25% increase in system availability over the life of the contracts, by bringing greater coherence to Seawolf in-service support thus enabling much better through-life decisions. The contracts will also make significant savings for Defence - in excess of £40M, with both contractors incentivised to deliver further efficiencies over the life of the contracts in addition to extra incentives for additional availability improvements."

The SWISS project will measure industry's performance against the availability of the weapon system to the fleet, availability of missiles and results of test firings.


1. Seawolf is a proven naval close air defence system fitted to Type 22 and Type 23 frigates offering an all-weather, day and night point defence capability against a wide variety of air threats such as fast sea-skimming and high-angle supersonic missiles and strike aircraft.

2. Seawolf was first introduced into service with the Royal Navy in 1979 and saw action in the Falklands conflict. Since then many capability upgrades have been implemented maintaining Seawolf as one of the most potent naval air-defence systems in the world.

3. More than 1,000 Seawolf missiles have been fired by the Royal Navy to date.

4. Under SWISS, BAE Insyte and MBDA will work co-operatively together with MoD to apply innovative support arrangements. Industry will be fully responsible for managing stock levels (including sparing and repair activities) to meet the overall system availability requirements. There will be greater emphasis on preventative action and Industry will manage the transition as the new Block 2 Seawolf missile and Seawolf Mid-Life Update (SWMLU) build standard is introduced across the Fleet. Missile processing and preparation for outload onto ships will now be the responsibility of MBDA, thus enabling more effective management of the overall missile inventory.

5. Additionally, both BAES Insyte and MBDA will be responsible for ensuring that the performance of the whole Seawolf system, as measured by successful in service firings, is maintained throughout the duration of the contract.

6. Work will be carried out by BAE Systems Insyte based at Broad Oak, near Portsmouth and Chelmsford and by MBDA based at Stevenage in Hertfordshire, Lostock near Bolton in Lancs and at Filton, Bristol. Value of the contract with BAE Systems Insyte is £141M and with MBDA is £177M.

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