QinetiQ has achieved an operational first during the initial firings of the new Sea Ceptor air defence system at MOD Hebrides.
The firings showcased the short range engagement capabilities of the new defence system which intercepts and destroys enemy missiles travelling at supersonic speeds and will form part of the protection for the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers.
In a first for QinetiQ, the company safely delivered the trial flying Mirach aerial targets within 2km from the firing frigate HMS Argyll, instead of the previous 5km minimum distance, providing a realistic threat against which the Sea Ceptor system could be tested.
The trial featured seven sorties using the Mirach aerial target, provided through QinetiQ’s Combined Aerial Target Service contract with the MOD. The trial and was delivered at the Hebrides range, managed by QinetiQ on behalf of the Ministry of Defence under the Long Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA).
Cathy O’Carroll, Group Director Test & Evaluation, QinetiQ, said: “This is a great example of how test and evaluation enables military commanders to understand a new military capability before utilising it in operational service. We are proud to have delivered the trial at MOD Hebrides, which is being upgraded as part of a £95m programme of investment in the LTPA ranges, announced in December 2016.
“Delivering world class facilities is a vital part of our strategy to modernise the UK’s defence test and evaluation capabilities, so that we can continue to provide safety and operational advantage of our Armed Forces in the face of 21st century threats. We are transforming our ways of working with government and industry to deliver a competitive and relevant service for the UK Armed Forces and our global customers.”
MOD Hebrides is the largest weapons Test and Evaluation Range in Europe, consisting of a Deep Range for complex weapons trials and in-service firings and an Inner Range for ground-based air defence campaigns.