Surface Forces: December 19, 1999


Britain has picked Marconi Electronic Systems as the prime contractor for the Type-45 air defense destroyer. This class, to enter service in 2007, replaces the multinational Horizon frigate program and the existing Type-42 destroyers. There will be 12 ships, costing a total of $9.8 billion. Marconi was involved in the Horizon program, and will be able to use about 70% of its design work on Horizon in the new Type-45 program. Marconi is about to merge with British Aerospace, and BAe is involved in the PAAMS (Principle Anti-Air Missile System) project, which was to have been used on Horizon. PAAMS will now be used on Type-45. Some of the ships will be built by Marconi Marine (at Yarrow), and the rest by Vosper Thornycroft (at Woolston), keeping both British shipyards in the warship construction business. Current plans call for the ships to be armed with a 48-cell Sylver vertical launch system, but this is limited to the Aster-15/30 anti-aircraft missile. The House of Commons is pressuring the Navy to use the deeper American Type-41 vertical launcher (by Lockheed Martin) to provide the "growth" capability to add a land-attack cruise missile (Tomahawk) and anti-ballistic missile (Standard-2-IVA) at a later time. --Stephen V Cole


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