SEA CEPTOR, the naval variant of the MBDA Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) family, has been selected to provide the primary air defence capability for the TAMANDARE-class of corvettes under construction for the Marinha do Brasil (MB - Brazilian Navy).
The MB will become the second Latin American operator of SEA CEPTOR: the air defence system has also been ordered by the Chilean Navy to equip its Type 23 frigates. SEA CEPTOR is also in production for the Royal Navy’s Types 23, 26 and 31 frigates and the Royal New Zealand Navy’s ANZAC-class.
The missile system, on which the company spent £2 billion (€2.35 billion) on development, is designed to protect the ship and its surroundings, such as other vessels and shore stations, with a range of up to 25 kilometres, against all kinds of threat, from fast- or slow-moving aircraft, drones, helicopters and missiles, to small surface threats, such as boats.
As it is a completely autonomous missile, using its own active radar guidance, operators on the ship can confront different threats and neutralise them simultaneously. Additionally, via the missile’s datalink, the ship can receive new target information so that system operators can exercise direct control over the weapon all the way to the target, aborting the strike if required.
SEA CEPTOR’s design incorporates a gas operated piston to expel the missile from its launcher: this has enabled the company to make a compact vertical launch system (VLS) for the compact missile, meaning the weapon can be installed on quite small vessels and negates the necessity for a vent to exhaust rocket engine gases from the launch system. Furthermore, since the missile does not need to expend a significant portion of its available thrust in the launch sequence, it has a tactically significant range for a relatively small weapon. SEA CEPTOR is vectored onto its target via small thrusters immediately after launch, which means it can engage targets at very close range. The proposed installation on the TAMANDARE corvettes is for three four-cell launchers.
MBDA is offering SEA CEPTOR both for new ship construction and for modernisation and upgrade programmes, its compact nature making vessel integration relatively simple. Its commonality with the land-based members of the CAMM family also facilitates logistics for any nation seeking to operate CAMM across all its armed forces.