Common Anti Air Modular Missile (CAMM)
The Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) willl replace Seawolf and Rapier FSC in the Royal Navy and British Army.
The Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) is described by MBDA as;
The Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) program is designed to provide the next generation of anti-air guided weapons for land, sea and airborne operations being fully compatible with existing command and control (C2) and sensors (radars etc) facilities. The new missile family is designed to engage high-speed jets, helicopters, supersonic cruise missiles and sea-skimming antiship missiles. These missiles will use low-cost components and re-use software in order to achieve a significant reduction in customer costs.
The missile is the core component of what was the Future Local Area Air Defence System (FLAADS) requirement for both land and naval environments, replacing Rapier FSC and Seawolf.
The wider systems are called Sea Ceptor and Land Ceptor/Sky Sabre.
Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) History
The history of the Common AnAnti-Modular Missile really starts with the two missile systems it will be replacing, Sea Wolf and Rapier Field Standard C. Both these systems have long histories stretching back to the seventies so in the interests of keeping this page manageable I propose not to go back too far into the history of either.
Suffice it to say, both have been considerably revised and improved since first introduced in the late sixties/early seventies.
The wider system was called the Future Local Area Air Defence System (FLAADS). In the land environment this is called Land Ceptor and in the maritime environment, imaginatively, Sea Ceptor.
The CAMM concept came from MBDA studies into a replacement for Rapier but it soon became obvious that the Out of Service Dates for Rapier were co-terminus with those of Sea Wolf and it, therefore, became a very logical and sensible joint effort, the Future Local Area Air Defence System (FLAADS)
In 2004, the MoD awarded a Phase £10m technology demonstration programme contract to MBDA through the Joint Sensor and Engagement Networks Integrated Project Team. Phase 1 included the soft vertical launch system, dual-band two-way datalink, an active RF seeker and open systems architecture to ensure it would be compatible with a wide range of search and acquisition radar and command and control systems.
Another £15m was committed to a second stage Technology Development programme (TDP) to mature the RF seeker with trials completed on a QinetiQ test aircraft.
This Phase 2 contract also included a number of subsystems and a mid-course correction demonstration.
In 2008, the Complex Weapons Portfolio approach was announced, with FLAADS(M) one of the first systems to be completed;
]The Common Anti-Air Modular Missile family to meet first the requirement for a Future Local Area Air Defence System (FLAADS) for the T23 Frigate and the Future Surface Combatant (MBDA)
Development work continued through to 2011, when the first successful soft launch from a truck was completed, previous trials had used a fixed canister.
In January 2012 the MoD announced a Demonstration Phase contract with MBDA for the ‘Sea Ceptor’ system that would use the Common Anti-Air Modular Missile at its core, this final was valued at £483m.
The Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Peter Luff, said;
The development of this missile system is a huge boost to the UK’s world-leading missile industry and once again proves our commitment to providing battle-winning technology to our Armed Forces. The introduction of this cutting-edge missile system will not only ensure that the Royal Navy will be able to continue protecting our interests wherever they may be but is also highly significant in sustaining and developing the UK’s skill in building complex weapons.
Commenting on Sea Ceptor, Chief of the naval staff and First Sea Lord Admiral, Sir George Zambellas, said;
This state-of-the-art missile system is part of an exciting renaissance in our naval equipment programme, and when fitted to Royal Navy frigates it will further enhance our global authority as a leading maritime power.
Thales announced in 2012 that they would provide the laser proximity fuze for CAMM;
MBDA’s selection of Thales UK for the delivery of this critical capability reinforces Thales’s position as a leader in the field of proximity fuzing and as the UK Ministry of Defence’s sovereign provider under Team Complex Weapons.
The £36 million FLAADS(L) Assessment Phase Contract was placed in 2014. The Demonstration and Manufacture phase contract, worth £228 million, was placed with MBDA in 2015.
Initial imagery of the land launcher systems was released.
Additional test firing was completed in 2014 and final qualification firings for CAMM were conducted in 2015 at the Vidsel range in Sweden.
A contract was advertised in February 2015 for the Command, Control, Computing and Communication Systems for the ground-based air defence system;
The requirement is to deliver a Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) capability along with an initial support solution for up to 5 years. This will include delivery of Battle Management Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (BMC4I) functionality, integrated with networked Land-Ceptor Launchers into a primary Fire Control Centre (FCC) which will centrally Command and Control missile engagements within the context of a wider Air Defence Command and Control (C2) Battle Management (ADBM) environment. An alternate FCC with medium mobility and capable of operating independently, will also be required in the event that the primary FCC/Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) are disabled. The BMC4I provider will be responsible for delivering and supporting the alternate FCC including vehicles and mobility requirement. The BMC4I provider will be the key systems integrator of the capability including provision of communications links and integration with existing in-service communications infrastructure, as required whilst conforming to MoD rules on communications infrastructure provision. It is expected that, given the time-frames to Initial Operating Capability (IOC), the BMC4I system will be relatively mature and within the provider’s range of existing products. The BMC4I provider will be required to demonstrate the extensibility of the system from the specific operational application here to enabling the development of a contingent BMC4I system with further investment in mobility, communications and hardening. Value £100m to £250m
Even before it has formally entered service, Sea Ceptor achieved some measure of export success with Brazil and New Zealand being the first two export customers. Chile later down selected Sea Ceptor for its three Type 23 Frigates with the contract coming a few years later.
The first of class fit for the Royal Navy was reported to be the Type 23 Frigate, HMS Argyll with sea trials expected to commence in 2017.
November 2016, MBDA was awarded a £100m Demonstration and Manufacture contract for Sea Ceptor on the Type 26 Frigate.
BDA has been awarded a £100M Demonstration and Manufacture contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) for the Sea Ceptor air defence system for the UK Royal Navy’s (RN) new class of frigate, the Type 26 (T26) Global Combat Ship (GCS). This advanced missile system will provide the principal air defence of the T26 and nearby ships against advanced airborne threats including sea-skimming anti-ship missiles, fast jets, helicopters, and UAVS.
The contract is further evidence of the confidence placed in the capability and maturity of the Sea Ceptor system and its CAMM (Common Anti-air Modular Missile) munition by the UK MOD and the RN.
This Demonstration and Manufacture contract will run for 10 years and involves support to the T26 design as well as the manufacture of the electronics equipment required for the class of eight ships.
Welcoming the contract announcement, James Allibone MBDA’s UK Sales & Business Development Director said: “This investment in the Sea Ceptor system is going to give the Royal Navy and partner navies outstanding air defence cover. Thanks to the Portfolio Management Agreement with the UK MOD, MBDA is providing a common missile system for both naval and land use thereby significantly reducing the cost that would have been involved in developing separate systems”.
With Sea Ceptor now selected for five different naval platform types around the world, MBDA sees further potential for the system and the CAMM family of missiles with other navies. Dave Armstrong, MBDA Executive Group Director Sales & Business Development and UK Managing Director states: “Naval air defence is more critical than ever given the growing capability of airborne threats. CAMM’s operational flexibility and ease of integration, both as a retrofit or on a new build, combine to offer unrivalled product advantages. Customers appreciate that they are looking at a product which is at the very start of its lifecycle, a product that represents the very latest in air defence technology and one that will be supported with ongoing through life enhancements for at least the next thirty years or more”.
On the 24th of February 2017, Janes reported that Rafael had been selected by the MoD to deliver components of the Sky Sabre system, as advertised above. Other bidders reportedly included MBDA, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Thales and Saab.
The Sky Sabre system as a whole was subject to £148 million on contracts;
- £78 million to Rafael and Babcock for the Modular, Integrated C4I Air & Missile Defense System (MIC4AD)
- £31 million to MBDA for Land Ceptor integration
- £8 million to SAAB for Giraffe integration
- £31 million to MBDA for additional Land Ceptor launchers and UK training facilities
The contracts were set to complete by 2020.
There was some speculation in the press and surprise that the UK had placed such a sensitive system order with an Israeli company, especially as that company has a competing system to CAMM and Land Ceptor. Although this tranche of contracts is specific to the Falkland Islands, it will provide a capability that will be utilised as Land Ceptor/Sky Sabre eventually replaces Rapier FSC in the British Army. The Rafael software is for command and control, a development of the MPREST system.
In April 2017, the MoD and MBDA announced an additional £323 million contract
The next-generation Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) is designed for use both at sea and on land. It has the capability to defend against anti-ship cruise missiles, aircraft and other highly sophisticated threats.
Designed and manufactured by MBDA in the UK, CAMM will be deployed using the Sea Ceptor and Land Ceptor weapon systems that will protect the Royal Navy’s Type 23 and future Type 26 warships, as well as enhancing the British Army’s Ground Based Air Defence system.
Sea Ceptor and Land Ceptor use innovative radar and datalink technology to guide the CAMM with incredible accuracy. CAMM’s associated radar system tracks the maritime or land based threat and uses the datalink to update the missile with the location of the threat. The CAMM’s own active radar seeker can then take over the missile guidance. The missiles are designed to provide 360 degree coverage and high degrees of manoeuvrability.
The Sea Ceptor weapon system incorporating CAMM will replace the Sea Wolf weapon system on the Type 23 Frigate and provide the anti-air defence capability on the new Type 26 frigates for the Royal Navy. Similarly, the Land Ceptor weapon system will replace the Rapier weapon system in service with the British Army and contribute technology to the replacement of ASRAAM in service with the Royal Air Force.
Adjacent to the CAMM programme, but integrated with it, the MoD also issued a contract notice for the £75m purchase of the Giraffe radar system that would form part of the Land Ceptor capability.
Joint Sensors and Engagement Networks Team, part of the UK Ministry of Defence, intends to amend Contracts JSENS/00114 and JSENS/00125 with SAAB AB (publ) (the ‘Contractor’) for the procurement of additional emulators, the modification of communications equipment and the provision of related specialist support for the Giraffe-Agile Multi Beam Radar (G-AMB) Initial Operating Capability (IOC) project to support the UK Ministry of Defence’s Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) IOC programme.
Italy also joined the CAMM programme in 2017, to replace their Aspide/Spada missiles. The CAMM-ER, or extended range, the missile will be used by Italy.
MoD statement on the first test firings
The first firings of the new Sea Ceptor air defence system have been successfully conducted in a major milestone for the Royal Navy, Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin announced today.
The Minister visited defence company MBDA’s site in Filton, near Bristol, meeting with local graduates, apprentices and other employees working on the Sea Ceptor system.
The new air missile defence system can intercept and destroy enemy missiles travelling at supersonic speeds and will form part of the protection for the nation’s new aircraft carriers. The first firings were conducted from Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll whilst off the coast of Scotland.
Sea Ceptor will protect our interests against threats both known and unknown. It will launch from the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 frigates as they keep our nuclear deterrent submarines and the UK’s two new aircraft carriers safe on operations around the globe.
Sea Ceptor supports 600 UK jobs and is yet another example of how our rising defence budget is being spent on cutting-edge kit to help our Armed Forces meet future threats.
In the same month, MBDA revealed the final configuration for Land Ceptor, the launch vehicle
A CAMM user group was also established as the final test firing was completed in December 2017.
The Royal Navy has successfully conducted the final First of Class firing trials of the new Sea Ceptor air defence system – completing the qualification firings of this cutting-edge new capability for the Royal Navy.
Following on from the first round of trials this summer, the second set of trials from HMS Argyll saw the system tested against more complex scenarios, including rapidly engaging multiple simultaneous threats.
With HMS Argyll having completed development testing of Sea Ceptor, the weapon system is now being rolled out to the Royal Navy’s other Type 23 Frigates. The first of a series of installation test firings has been successfully completed on HMS Westminster. Each Sea Ceptor platform will similarly complete an installation test firing in due course as they prepare to re-join frontline service after their refits.
In February 2018, the British Army described how Sky Sabre would come into service in 2020.
Sky Sabre is due in service in 2020 and will prove to be a step change in the UK’s air defences, taking it from short to medium range capability. Simply put that means being able to hit an enemy target that much further out, way beyond visual range.
This was the first time that the three principal components of the system had come together; the MBDA launcher that fires the CAMM missile, the Saab radar targeting system, aptly named the giraffe because of its extending neck and the command and the Rafael control electronics suite from which the system is operated.
Sky Sabre is the name of the overall system.
After further qualification and trials work, in May 2018, CAMM formally entered service with the Royal Navy
A world-class missile system that will protect the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers has officially entered service, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced today.
Sea Ceptor provides a powerful shield against airborne threats, including hostile combat jets, helicopters and other missiles, and has been developed and manufactured through Ministry of Defence contracts worth around £850m.
It will be carried by the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates, and has been successfully demonstrated through a trials and test firing campaign that started last year. Most recently, Plymouth-based HMS Montrose became the third ship to test fire the system.
MBDA successfully completed a series of trials of the ER variant in 2019
The final live firing exercise for Rapier was completed in 2020
End of an era. 30 Battery (Rogers’s Company) completed the final UK technical live firing of Rapier in the Hebrides. Preparing for the last Rapier deployment to the Falkland Islands and bookending 15 yrs of Rapier deployment. @7AirDefence @byMBDA @QinetiQ #Team16 #skysabre pic.twitter.com/hlQMBBXJql— 16 Regt RA (@16RegtRA) September 24, 2020
The ER variant continued its development in 2021
It was announced in 2021 that Royal Navy Type 45 Destroyers would be fitted with a 24 cell Sea Ceptor VLS.
Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) Capabilities
The defining characteristic of CAMM is that it is common to the land and maritime environment but equally, in both environments, the missile is only one part of the overall system.
The missile, Soft launch System and Common Data Link
Each supersonic IM compliant CAMM weighs 100kg, approximately 20kg heavier than Sea Wolf and nearly double the weight of Rapier. Length is 3.2m and diameter, 0.16m.
The missile itself takes a great deal from ASRAAM but it is not a surface-launched ASRAAM with a new name. Common components include the very low signature rocket motor from Roxel, the warhead and proximity fuse from Thales
The RF seeker and open architecture electronics backbone are new, the latter is called Programmable Open Technology for Upgradable Systems or PrOTeUS and uses an IEEE 1394 Firewire bus technology as a starting point.
Although range will, of course, be classified MBDA declare it as ‘in excess of 25km
The soft vertical launch system ejects the missile to a height of about 30m before a small thruster fires to orientate the missile with the target location. This method is safer, removes the need to manage hot gas efflux in the launch silo and ensures all of the main rocket motor fuel is used for arriving at the target.
Silos are canted out slightly so that should the main motor fail to ignite, the missile will not fall back onto the launcher.
The Common Data Link (CDL) is the small ‘black box’ or dome that sits on top of the mast, especially clear in pictures of FLAADS(L) although it doesn’t necessarily have to use the two-way data link to the launch vehicle, so, it could take mid-course corrections from any number of suitably equipped land or air platforms and then switch to active homing when it gets close enough. The original launch platform could have even moved by the time the missile hits.
Later images show a change in physical appearance for the data link housing.
Extended Range Missile
CAMM-ER is primarily derived from a requirement for a replacement for the Italian Armed Forces SPADA and ASPIDE missile. CAMM-ER has an enlarged body that houses an Avio motor, providing the missile with a reported range in excess of 45km.
The difference between the two can be seen in the image below
Maritime (Sea Ceptor)
In the maritime environment, the Sea Ceptor soft launch system and particularly, connectivity with the Royal Navy’s ARTISAN radar and command and control software make integration relatively straightforward in comparison with other systems. This is all integrated on the Type 23 Frigate before being ‘migrated’ onto the Type 26 and Type 31.
The FLAADS Command and Control system features 75% re-use from the Sea Viper command and control software. The FLAADS Platform Data Link provides a vital element of the system, able to provide information to the missile whilst in flight.
One of the key benefits of the missile having an active RF seeker is that it removes the need for a fire control radar, of critical importance against saturation attacks. It also has the added benefit of reducing complexity, cost and weight. It is this feature that is one of Sea Ceptor’s most attractive features in the export market.
It should be remembered that the FLAADS requirement specified the word area, CAMM is not a point defence weapon.
It is reported that each missile in its sealed canister will have a shelf life of ten years and although MBDA claims it can be quad packed in either an SYLVER or Mk 41 launcher, they are installed in Type 26 and Type 23 in a bespoke low-cost launcher.
Lockheed Martin and MBDA have also completed qualification testing with CAMM from the ExLS 3 cell standalone vertical launch silo.
Land Ceptor and Sky Sabre
The Sky Sabre medium-range Air Defence (MRAD) system consists of the Giraffe Agile Multibeam radar, the MIC4AD command and control system, the Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) and the Land Ceptor (Launcher vehicle).
An interesting feature of the CAMM system in a land environment is that it does not require the radar system to be co-located, opening possibilities for concealing the launch point and attacking non-line of sight targets.
Linking the missile system into the Royal Artillery’s evolving Land Environment Air Picture (LEAAP) system which uses the Falcon trunk network, Saab Giraffe radars and Link 11/16 makes it a very hard target to locate and either suppress or destroy.
The Land Ceptor launcher rack is fitted with associated generators, data link and ancillary equipment such that it can operate remounted from the MAN SV truck.
The Land Ceptor launch system is very intelligently designed, it can self load missile launch pods for example.
The command and control system is the Rafael Modular, Integrated C4I Air Defense System.
Rafael describe MIC4AD as;
MIC4AD is an advanced, unified, integrated C4I system that commands and controls the operation of both air and missile defense, including air-superiority missions. The system provides a total solution for multi-system, multi-layer and multi-range air and missile defense, traditionally operated as separate commands, correlates real-time data from distributed sensors/platforms (radars, IFF system, data links, electro-optics), all connected to the air traffic control picture and mission planning system. The data is analyzed to deliver a real-time, coherent national Air Situation Picture (ASP). Simultaneously, MIC4AD performs threat assessment and hostile target classification, generating an interception plan for threats at any command level (national, regional, tactical). MIC4AD optimizes resource management and swiftly allocates the most appropriate defense system, such as SPYDER, David’s Sling, Iron Dome or other customer systems to the type of challenge. Response includes target allocation to weapon systems (TAWA – Threat Assessment Weapon Allocation) with full, semi-automatic or manual fire control according to customer doctrine. MIC4AD’s open, modular architecture can be adapted to customer operational needs. The system can be integrated with a customer’s existing or future air and missile defense. This flexibility allows incorporating new technologies and systems with the existing arrangement. MIC4AD can serve as an add-on to the customer’s current C4I setup, or replace existing systems entirely. Highly automated, easy-to-use and with advanced interactive displays, MIC4AD is a true force-multiplier. Enabling unified command and fire control of multiple air and missile defense systems, MIC4AD delivers multi-mission, multi-layer and multi-range C4I capabilities that ensure end-to-end air and missile protection.
MIC4AD Console view below
The UK is the largest user of Giraffe AMB, with ten systems in service.
MBDA and Northrop Grumman have also integrated CAMM with the US Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS), the first non-US missile to do so.
It has also been seen on a Polish Jelcz vehicle
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