Watch as Royal Navy warship HMS Defender tests her world-beating missiles off the coast of Scotland

HMS Defender has tested her world-beating missile system off the coast of Scotland as part of a 10-day naval exercise.

Monday, 20th May 2019, 5:34 pm
HMS Dedender testing its missile firing. Picture: Royal Navy LPhot Pepe Hogan

The Portsmouth-based Royal Navy warship‘s missile flew at four times the speed of sound before destroying a drone target designed to simulate an attack on the ship.

The testing by the Type-45, as part of NATO Exercise Formidable Shield, was designed to prove its ability to defend herself and other ships from attack.

The ship’s senior warfare officer, Lieutenant Commander Daniel Lee, said: ‘Being a part of our first firing against a fast-moving, low-level target has been a really rewarding experience.

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HMS Dedender testing its missile firing. Picture: Royal Navy LPhot Pepe Hogan

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‘Proving the effectiveness of the Sea Viper system against a more challenging target reassures us in the ability of HMS Defender to deliver on operations as an air defence destroyer.’

Sea Viper is the combination of the Sampson radar system – the distinctive spinning spiked ball on top of the ship’s main mast – and the Aster missile system which sits in a silo on the ship’s forecastle.

The system tracks aircraft and other objects across thousands of cubic miles of airspace, identifies threats, and destroys them when necessary.

HMS Defender is currently taking part in Operation Formidable Shield, working alongside ships from various nations. Picture: Royal Navy

Ships from various nations fired missiles during the 10-day Exercise Formidable Shield, in the Hebrides range in Scotland.

Led by the US Navy’s 6th Fleet, the exercise was the largest of its type with 13 ships, more than 10 aircraft and more than 3,300 personnel taking part.

Lieutenant Commander Ben Shirley, HMS Defender’s Weapon Engineer Officer, said: ‘Maintaining relationships and our ability to work with other nations is vital to the defence of the UK.

‘Operating with a number of our allies has given us a fantastic opportunity to witness other nations’ missile defence systems.

‘It has also given us the ability to better understand how well our own systems perform in a variety of conditions against a variety of targets.’