UK commits to Aster missile upgrade
The UK, through OCCAR, has signed an amendment to join the multi-national partnership between France and Italy to produce the Aster 30 Block 1 missile.
The contract will oversee conversion of the UK’s missiles to Aster 30 Block 1 naval standard as part of a mid-life update.
The Block 1 features a Ku-band seeker allowing for ‘neutralisation’ of 600km-range ballistic threats, according to documents from missile-maker MBDA.
Under the new contract amendment, munitions assembly will take place at Defence Munitions Gosport (DMG).
Through the Sea Viper Evolution (SVE) project, the UK plans to field a ballistic missile defence (BMD) capability by the late 2020s.
The Aster 30 Block 1 upgrade is part of this work alongside plans for software updates to the Sampson multi-function radar (MFR) and Sea Viper C2 missile system.
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The UK Royal Navy’s Vanguard-class of ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) provide the UK with its continuous-at-sea deterrent (CASD) coverage and have done so since 1994. The Vanguards will themselves be replaced by the new Dreadnought-class SSBNs from the 2030s.