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New Decoy Launchers for Royal Navy Warships

Trainable Decoy Launcher ~ no higher resolution available [Crown Copyright]

A new contract worth £135 million will equip Royal Navy warships with new decoy launchers to counter missile and drone threats.

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Press Release, Whitehall, 26 March 2024: UK security will be bolstered through a new contract worth £135 million that will equip the Royal Navy with new decoy launchers to counter missile and drone threats, ensuring the long-term availability and resilience of warships.

Following the signing of the new contract, Trainable Decoy Launcher technology will increase the protection of Royal Navy ships and sailors, further strengthening the Navy’s ability to defend Britain’s interests across the world, including the Red Sea. It comes as new missile and drone technology creates greater threats to the UK’s fleet and the latest decoy launchers will help counter this, providing optimised manoeuvrability that provides the capability to defend warships without the need to alter course.

The innovative new system, which uses high-end technology, will be manufactured in Systems Engineering & Assessment Ltd (SEA) site in North Devon and Chess’s facilities in Sussex, sustaining up to 150 jobs to help grow the economy. Both SEA and Chess are part of the UK-based Cohort plc group.

Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge said: “In a time of global instability, it is vital we protect the Royal Navy in the best possible way to ensure national security.

“With recent attacks towards HMS Diamond and HMS Richmond in the Red Sea, it’s crucial our sailors have the latest technology to best defend themselves and the fleet.

“The new Trainable Decoy Launcher technology is an improvement on speed and agility and highlights more excellent work from UK companies in backing UK defence.”

The contract for the Trainable Decoy Launcher will see Type 26 and Type 31 frigates and Type 45 destroyers fitted with a new trainable countermeasure launcher system. Trainable Decoy Launchers use an improved decoy launcher technology and enables a decoy to be rapidly deployed against modern missile threats, without the need to manoeuvre the vessel itself. The launcher fires a range of countermeasures, which includes chaff, flares and ‘corner reflector’ rounds to target hostile missiles.

The contract, procured by Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), was awarded to SEA and will see a fully UK-designed and built solution. SEA have partnered with Chess Dynamics and Frazer-Nash Consultancy (FNC) to deliver the product.

Richard Flitton, Managing Director of SEA said: “Being awarded a contract of this nature demonstrates the Royal Navy’s trust in SEA which is based on our proven track record of delivering, upgrading, and sustaining high-end maritime capabilities over many years.

“The knowledge and maritime domain expertise within our UK-based team has enabled our long-standing partnership with the Royal Navy, and we’re delighted that this will allow us to support the UK’s defensive capabilities against modern and complex naval threats.”

DE&S CEO, Andy Start said: “This contract is an excellent example of how dedicated DE&S teams work with our partners in industry and across defence to deliver innovative and agile equipment to our Armed Forces that can be upgraded to keep pace with ever-evolving threats.”

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