In 1973, the British fleet entered long-range air defense systems (Eng. Sea Dart - a sea dart), developed by Hawker Siddeley Dynamics. It was intended to replace the not very successful Sea Slug.
The first ship armed with this complex was the destroyer of the type 82 - Bristol. On the destroyer launcher was mounted with two beam-type guides. Ammunition consisted of 18 SAM. The reloading is carried out from the under deck rocket cellar.
HMS Bristol (D23) near the Falkled Islands
The anti-aircraft missile of the Sea Dart complex had an original and rarely used scheme at the moment. In it were used two stages - accelerating and marching. The booster engine runs on solid fuel, its task is to give the rocket the speed necessary for the stable operation of a ramjet engine.
The main engine is integrated into the rocket body, in the nose part there is an air intake with a central body. The rocket carried a rod or high-explosive fragmentation warhead, undermining which was carried out by the command of an infrared sensor target.
Missile "Sea Dart"
The rocket turned out to be quite “clean” in aerodynamic terms, it was made according to the normal aerodynamic design. Rocket diameter - 420 mm, length - 4400 mm, wing span - 910 mm.
A kerosene propulsion engine accelerated 500 kg of Sea Dart to 2,5M speed. Providing a target hit distance of 75 km with reachability over 18 km, which was very good for the middle 60-x.
In the “Sea Dart” air defense system, a guidance method that was quite advanced for the 60-s was used - a semi-active GOS. On ships-carriers of this complex, as a rule, there were two guidance radars operating in the 3,3-cm range, placed in radio-domed domes, which allowed using two missiles at the same time for different purposes, which also increased the combat stability of the complex. Ships with radar in large white dome-shaped fairings with a diameter of 2,4 m became the hallmark of the British fleet in 70-80-s.
HMS Sheffield (D80)
Unlike the Sea Slug air defense missile systems, Sea Dart anti-aircraft missiles could be used for low-altitude targets, which was demonstrated in the course of actual combat operations.
The long-range Sea Dart, which had quite good characteristics, in contrast to the close range of the Sea Cat, was not widely used and was used only on British Type 82 and Type 42 destroyers (Sheffield-type destroyers), as well as on Invincible aircraft carriers. Two 42-type destroyers with the Sea Dart air defense system were built under license for the Argentine Navy in the middle of the 70.
In the middle of the 80-x following the results of the Falkland conflict, the complex was modernized. The Zur began to install a noise-suppressing homing vessel, in which the possibilities for combating low-flying aerial targets were increased.
The most "advanced" modification, Mod 2, appeared at the beginning of 90-x. At this missile system "Sea Dart" firing range was increased to 140 km. In addition to the use of lighter and more compact electronics, the rocket received a programmable autopilot. Now most of the way Zur flew on autopilot, and semi-active homing was included only when approaching the goal. This allowed us to increase the noise immunity and fire performance of the complex.
The Sea Dart naval anti-aircraft complex was actively used by warships of the British fleet during the Falkland Company. In total, 26 anti-aircraft missiles of this type were spent. Some of them were not launched precisely in an attempt to scare off Argentine aircraft.
During the military operations, the Sea Dart air defense system shot down five Argentine aircraft: the reconnaissance aircraft Lirjet-35A, the Canberra bomber V.Mk 62, two attack aircraft A-4С Skyhawk and the Puma helicopter. Also, a British Gazelle helicopter was mistakenly hit by a Sea Dart rocket.
Of the nineteen missiles fired by Argentine planes, only five hit the target. If, when firing at high-altitude targets, the probability of hitting was almost 100%, then one out of ten missiles hit the airplanes flying at low altitude.
The next time the Sea Dart air defense system was used in combat during the Gulf War in February 1991. Then the British destroyer HMS Gloucester (D96) shot down the Chinese-made Iraqi anti-ship missile system SY-1 Silk Warm aimed at the US battleship USS Missouri (BB-63).
Currently, the Sea Dart air defense system, having served for more than 40 years, has been removed from service with the British fleet, along with destroyers of the 42 type.
The British short-range C-Cat air defense system proved unable to effectively deal with modern combat aircraft and anti-ship missiles. He did not satisfy the sailors in terms of the range and accuracy of shooting, and the missile defense system of this complex, based on the ATGM, was too slow. In addition, the effectiveness of applying the "Cat Cat" joy-guided target for commands strongly depended on the qualifications and the psycho-emotional state of the guidance operator.
In the middle of the 60's, the British Aircraft Corporation began the development of a new naval anti-aircraft complex, which was to be replaced on the ships of the British fleet of C-CRA.
The new near-zone air defense system, called the Sivulf (eng. Sea Wolf - sea wolf), entered service in 1979 year.
Zour complexes "Sea Cat" and "Sea Wolf"
As well as in the “Sea Cat” SAM, the “Sea Wolf” SAM was guided by radio commands along the line of sight. Only in this case, the process of targeting was fully automated, reducing the “human factor” to a minimum.
Accompanying the target after receiving the target indication from the detection radar is accomplished by the tracking radar, which is associated with the television tracking system for the missile defense system, and the target, which is used when firing low-altitude targets or in the condition of interference. The position of the missile is determined by the signal of the onboard transponder.
The detection radar provides detection of a fighter target at a distance of 70 km. The central processor automatically allocates air targets according to the degree of their danger and selects the sequence of fire. The number of missiles in the salvo depends on the speed and maneuverability characteristics of the target. On the carrier ship "Sea Wolf" there are usually two tracking radars that provide simultaneous firing at two air targets.
The firing range of the first version of the “Sea Wolf” air defense missile system GWS-25 corresponded to the firing range of the “Sea Cat”. But the probability of hitting a target with a single missile in a simple jamming environment was much higher - 0,85. Target hit height - 5-3000 m.
The “Sea Wolf” missile was heavier than the Sea Cat missile and weighed 80 kg. Thanks to a more powerful solid-fuel engine and a more sophisticated aerodynamic shape compared to the “Sea Cat”, the Sea Wolf rocket accelerated to twice the speed - 2M.
The CWOLF missile of the GWS-25 version is 1910 mm long, the rocket diameter is 180 mm, the wingspan is 560 mm. The weight of high-explosive fragmentation warhead - 13,4 kg. On the consoles wings Zur are four antennas. Two of them are used to transmit information to the radar, the other two - take the radio command guidance.
The “Sea Wolf” air defense system of the GWS-25 version has a container version of a six-shot PU, which is automatically aimed at the target by the control equipment (weight with missiles - 3500 kg).
The first version of the GWS-25 mod 0 complex turned out to be quite cumbersome and heavy. It could be installed on ships with a displacement of more than 2500 tons. In the GWS-25 mod 3 modification, the weight and dimensions of the complex were significantly reduced, and it could already be mounted on ships with a displacement of 1000 tons.
On two PUs were 12 ready to use missiles. On the 22 type frigates of the first series, the total ammunition load was 60 missiles, and on the second and third series 72 missiles.
Even at the design stage of the “Sea Wolf” air defense missile system, a variant of vertical launch was considered. Taking into account the experience of combat use, this was implemented in a modification of GWS-26, where instead of a PU of a container type, a vertical launch setting was applied to 32 cells. That significantly increased the fire performance of the complex.
The firing range of the ZW version of the GWS-26 has increased to 10 km. Modernization also undergone control equipment and guidance. The complex received a more powerful processor and a new radar. The reaction time of the complex was reduced from 10 to 5-6 seconds. In the variant with a vertical start, the weight of the missile defense increased to 140 kg, and the length to 3000 mm.
Due to the progress in the field of electronics, it was possible to significantly reduce the volume and weight of electronic components. This modification was intended for the armament of combat boats and small-displacement ships. Missiles are located in metal reusable or plastic disposable containers and reloaded manually.
The “Sea Wolf” air defense system armed with Type 22 frigates (14 units), as well as Type 23 frigates (13 units) with a vertical-type PU. Three more frigates of the 23 type are available in the Chilean Navy
Brazilian frigate type 22 BNS Rademaker former HMS Battleaxe (F89)
British frigate type 23 HMS Lancaster (F229)
In addition to the vertical launch of the Zour, a lightweight VM40 modification complex was created with a four-charging launcher. The quadruple launchers of the "Sea Wolf" are mounted on three frigates of the "Nakhoda Ragam" type of the Navy of Brunei and two frigates of the "Leku" type of the Malaysian Navy.
Frigates of the type "Nakhoda Ragam" Navy of Brunei
The Sea Wolf shipboard anti-aircraft complex showed itself very well during the Falkland conflict. The British naval squadron had three URO frigates armed with this type of air defense system.
The first case of the use of "Sea Wolf" in a combat situation occurred 12 May 1982, when the frigate UMS HMS Brilliant (F90) repelled the attack of four Argentine A-4 Skyhawk attack aircraft. Two Skyhawks were hit by anti-aircraft missiles, and another fell into the sea during an anti-missile maneuver.
The data on the number of Argentinean aircraft shot down by the Sea Wolf ship system varies from source to source, but apparently there were no more than five. At the same time, all experts agree that the Si Wulf air defense system proved to be a very effective short-range air defense system, and if at that time there were more frigates armed with this complex as part of the British squadron, British losses from the actions of the Argentinean aviation could be much smaller.
The most long-range and high-tech shipboard air defense system, which is in service with the British Navy, is the PAAMS SAM (eng. Principle Anti-Air Missile System).
This SAMs armed destroyers URO Type 45 - the most modern to date surface warships in the Royal Navy of Great Britain.
The destroyer URO HMS Daring (D32)
The first 45 type destroyer, Daring, was formally put into service on July 23 of the year 2009, when its main anti-aircraft weapon, PAAMS SAM, has not yet been brought to the stage of adoption.
The development of PAAMS SAMs began formally in 1989 by the EUROSAM consortium, which was formed by Aérospatiale, Alenia and Thomson-CSF.
At the end of the 90-x, a simplified version of the SAAM short-range air defense system with an Aster 15 rocket was developed, which did not satisfy the British who had been equipped with the Sea Wolf complex.
In September, 2000 began the construction of three sets of PAAMS SAM systems, which were planned to be installed on British, French and Italian lead ships of new projects. At the same time, the production of 200 Aster 15 and Aster 30 rockets began.
The “Aster 15” and “Aster 30” missiles are very similar to each other, they have a single aerodynamic scheme, are equipped with the same combined gas-aerodynamic control system, active Doppler seeker, inertial guidance system on the cruise line, with radio-command correction of the course on radar signals. The main difference is the upper stage acceleration unit, which determines the difference in mass and dimensions, as well as in the firing range.
High maneuverability characteristics of the Aster missile defense system are obtained through the use of a combined gas-aerodynamic control system, which is a solid-fuel gas generator with four slit nozzles equipped with control valves with actuators. The nozzles are located inside the cross-shaped rocket wings. According to the manufacturers, Aster rockets are able to maneuver with overload up to 60 G.
The high maneuverability and accuracy of the ASTER family of missiles has reduced the mass of the warhead to 15-20 kg. Due to the presence of active homing, missiles are effective in hitting targets flying at low altitude and hidden behind a radio horizon.
Both types of missiles are launched from a vertical launcher. On destroyers of type 45 in ATC SYLVER, 48 SAM “Aster-15” or “Aster-30” is placed
In spite of the fact that the flight design tests of the Aster missile defense system were completed in 1999, the adaptation of the complex on ships of the carriers was delayed.
Two trials conducted on British ships in the 2009 year were unsuccessful. It was only in October that the 2010 Aster 15 anti-aircraft missile was launched from the destroyer Dauntless on October, which hit the Mirac-100 remotely controlled air target.
In May, the 2011 of the year successfully shot out the leading 45 type in the series - the destroyer Daring. In December 2011, the PAAMS Acer 30 anti-aircraft missile hit the target that simulated a medium-range ballistic missile. Confirming the missile defense potential of the ship. In May and July, the British destroyers Diamond and Dragon launched successful missile launches at the Hebrids in the Atlantic.
At the present time, according to the representative of the British fleet, the PAAMS air defense system has reached “the level of operational readiness”, which, translated into Russian, obviously means the ability of the complex to carry full service on warships.
In addition to the British fleet destroyers, the Aster missile is part of the French and Italian horizon frigates, Saudi frigates of the F-3000S project and the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.
Currently, the British fleet has six squadron destroyers "Type 45", which are the carriers of the PAAMS air defense missile systems "Aster". Taking into account the fact that the PAAMS complex is fully automated from the moment of target detection to its interception and has a horizon launching of highly maneuverable anti-aircraft missiles, these ships may be serious opponents for combat aircraft and anti-ship missiles.
Another publication from this series:
British naval anti-aircraft missile systems. 1-Part I