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LONDON — The Royal New Zealand Navy is set to become the first export customer for MBDA’s new Sea Ceptor missile after the weapon was nominated as the preferred choice to provide local area air defense for two frigates due for upgrade by the Ministry of Defence.
The decision to select the Sea Ceptor was announced Oct. 4 following a visit to New Zealand by British International Security Minister Andrew Murrison.
The Sea Ceptor version of the Common Anti-Air Modular Missile is being developed for installation onboard British Royal Navy Type 23 frigates. The weapon will also be installed on Type 26 frigates when construction gets underway later in the decade.
The British Ministry of Defence announced a £250 million production order for the Sea Ceptor in early September.
The missile is scheduled to enter service with the British in 2016.
Selection of the Sea Ceptor is part of a wider frigate system upgrade which includes replacement of virtually all the current sensors including the combat management system, anti-ship missile defense, electronic warfare and torpedo self-defense.
Des Ashton, the New Zealand deputy secretary of defense for acquisition said Oct. 4 the primary objective of the upgrade is to “restore the ship’s combat capability and utility to a comparative level to that of a current generation, new release combat system. This is required to counter the combined challenges of an increased level of threat sophistication coupled with obsolescence of some of the current systems.”