Common Anti Air Modular Missile (CAMM)

The Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) program is designed to provide the next generation of anti-air guided weapons for land, sea & airborne operations

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 will be the core component of the Future Local Area Air Defence System (FLAADS) requirement for both land and naval environments, replacing Rapier FSC and Seawolf.

Common Anti Air Modular Missile

The wider systems are called Sea Ceptor and Land Ceptor.

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.

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Both are still in service, and will be for a few years yet, but the intent is for the UK to replace Sea Wolf and Rapier FSC with CAMM, within the wider system called Future Local Area Air Defence System (FLAADS). In the land environment this will be called Land Ceptor and in the maritime environment, imaginatively, Sea Ceptor!

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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 mid-course correction demonstration.

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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.

In 2011, 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.

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 has achieved some measure of export success with Brazil and New Zealand being the first two notable future customers. Chile has down selected Sea Ceptor for its three Type 23 Frigates with a final decision between it and the IAI/Rafale Barak 8 expected in 2016.

The first of class fit for the Royal Navy will be the Type 23 Frigate, HMS Argyll. It is expected that sea trials will commence in 2017.

On the 24th of February 2017, Janes reported that Rafael had been selected by the MoD to deliver components of 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 are 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 capability that will be utilised as Land Ceptor/Sky Sabre eventually replaces Rapier FSC in the British Army.

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.

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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 that ejects the missile to a height of about 30m before a small a 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.

The Common Data Link (CDL) is the small ‘black box’ 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.

MBDA have laid out a roadmap for future air-launched CAMM as a possible future replacement for ASRAAM. As a possible replacement for Italian Armed Forces SPADA and ASPIDE, MBDA has also proposed an extended range version of CAMM, reportedly with a range in excess of 45km. The CAMM-ER missile will be integrated within the Enhanced Modular Air Defence Solutions (EMADS) system.

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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 being integrated on the Type 23 Frigate before being ‘migrated’ onto the Type 26. 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 a SYLVER or Mk 41 launcher current images suggest they will be installed on Type 26 in a bespoke low-cost launcher, which does make a lot of sense.

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Babcock HMS Argyll in dock_Babcock_15122 D-67

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Land Ceptor

An interesting feature of the CAMM system in a land environment (Land Ceptor) 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 vertical launch before tip over sequence also opens up potential concealment options, especially in an urban environment.

The current development shows the FLAADS(L) system mounted on a demountable pallet on a MAN HX truck. Decisions on a lighter transport platform or perhaps a smaller missile load (currently 12) remain to be made. The Man HX60 configuration is certainly heavier than the current Rapier FSC.

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Land Environment Air Picture

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After a competitive phase, 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


After some uncertainty, the three core components of the Sky Sabre system are

  • MBDA Land Ceptor missiles, launchers and data link
  • Saab Giraffe 3D agile multi beam radar
  • Rafael MIc4AD integrated C4I system

With the usual collection of training systems, vehicles, shelters and ancillaries.

Table of Contents

RN TLAM 4 Introduction
MBDA Brimstone layout on Tornado Brimstone
MBDA SPEAR 3 Image 2 SPEAR Capability 3
RAF Tornado GR4's at RAF Akrotiri Cyprus being armed with the Paveway IV Laser Guided Bomb. Paveway IV
Tornado Storm Shadow Storm Shadow
Royal Navy Submarine HMS Astute Fires a Tomahawk Cruise Missile (TLAM) During Testing Near the USA Tomahawk
FASGW(H) Missile Sea Venom
Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) Martlet (Lightweight Multirole Missile)
HMS Montrose fires Harpoon Harpoon
F-35 UK Weapons Trials November 2014 ASRAAM & PAVEWAY IV shot 2 ASRAAM
RAF Typhoon Aircraft Carrying Meteor Missiles Meteor BVRAAM
Soldier Mans Starstreak HVM High Velocity Missile System During Exercise Olympic Guardian for London 2012 Starstreak HVM
Sea Ceptor missile system FLAADS(M) Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM)
Sea Viper HMS Defender Type 45 Live Fire Sea Viper/ASTER
Fire Shadow Loitering Munition Fire Shadow Loitering Munition
The final pre-acceptance trial of the GMLRS (Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System) at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, USA. Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS)
Spike NLOS Tracked Vehicle Exactor (SPIKE NLOS)
Pictured are elements of the Manoeuvre Support Group MSG from 42 Commando Royal Marines, based at Bickleigh Barracks Plymouth, whilst conducting live firing of the new Light Forces Anti-Tank Guided Weapon (LFATGW) Javelin. 42 Commando Royal Marines were the first UK Armed Force to live fire the new Javelin system. The live fire demonstration was an early opportunity to see the Javelin being live fired in the UK. The future reliance on simulation,rather than live firing will mean that a demonstration such as this will be a rare event in the UK during the service life of the system. This image was submitted as part of the Peregrine 06 Photographic Competition. This image is available for non-commercial, high resolution download at subject to terms and conditions. Search for image number 45145988.jpg ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Photographer: PO (PHOT) Sean Clee Image 45145988.jpg from Javelin Anti-Tank Guided Weapon (ATGW)
NLAW Training Aid Next Generation Light Anti-Armour Weapon (NLAW)
Raytheon Defender Laser CIWS Lasers
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May 15, 2016 6:01 pm

Wonder if a Submarine launched version is a possibility?

May 16, 2016 8:30 am

What is the maximum altitude is it the same as ASTER 15 or lower? Aster 15 supposedly can hit targets up to 13 km high.

May 16, 2016 9:00 am

The trackers where and still are a weak point on SeaWolf be they on T22s or T23s, so any system that gets rid of these has got to be an improvment.
The proof of a capability improvement will be I guess, in a series of trials to prove Sea Ceptor can hit as a minimum the targets GWS 25/26 could hit.
So that is a 4.5 inch shell landing close in to the ship and a sea skimmer missle ( Not a Rushton Low Level Height Keeper target but an actual missle.) If it can do that then its equal to GWS25/26 and if it can also do local area defense then its a definite improvement.
It will be interesting to see what the vacated areas previously used for the trackers on T23 will be used for. My bet will be a planning room and a Gym. From what I understand Sea Ceptor is also only going to take up one side of the existing silo so what is going to go in the other half of it?

The Other Chris
May 16, 2016 10:52 am


Could I politely ask commenter’s to provide feedback to whoever they have downvoted please?

It’s not always clear what you may be disagreeing with and often a downvote can be considered subjective without a context.

Leaving an associated comment helps to inform and educate the original commenter as well as the wider (often silent) readership. It also helps to stimulate debate which is a far more positive contribution to the community and audience than an anonymous -1.

Really appreciated,

The Other Chris
May 16, 2016 11:04 am


Officially “higher than Rapier” (5km). Likely lower than Aster 15’s ceiling (13km publicly). Mica is a similar class and is in the region of 10km for the VLS version, heavier with a less energetic propellant.

Should be noted that CAMM-ER has performance increase potential if development can be realised, even though it’s larger and heavier.

The Other Chris
May 16, 2016 11:13 am

Almost everything is a possibility given time and budget. Have a look at the IRIS-T based IDAS missile, it’s probably along the lines of what you are after.

If you also have a search through the TD archives for that term you should find a number of debates on it’s perceived effectiveness, applications and usefulness.

Note in particular that Germany and Turkey are partnering. Their submarine requirements (Baltic, Black Sea’s) are significantly different to the UK’s (Atlantic, Pacific, Indian Ocean’s).

shark bait
May 16, 2016 12:21 pm

why do our nuke boats need anti-air missiles?

May 16, 2016 1:32 pm

SB. At the end of WW2, U-boats were coming to the surface armed with 20mm (& proposed 37mm) to fight it out with MPA rather than be depth charged.
In the 1970s, there was a fin mounted version of Blowpipe (sold to Israel?). If one of our subs had popped up just offshore of Port Stanley runway in 1982 & shot down an Argentine transport, it would have caused panic & chaos in the enemy air operations. You would only have needed to do it once.
Many will say a SSN should stay hidden in the deep ocean. True, but what if it is dropping off/collecting special forces? Or is forced to the surface by damage/mechanical fault? Do we want it to be a sitting duck?

May 16, 2016 2:02 pm


Thanks. Initially thought why have two missiles that perform similarly in terms of range and height

shark bait
May 16, 2016 2:12 pm

It’s an interesting though, CAMM is broadly similar to ASTER 15.

There must be a strong argument for dropping ASTER 15 and replacing it with CAMM on the T45, reducing missile types, whilst freeing up space for more ASTER 30 and ABM’s.

The Other Chris
May 16, 2016 3:38 pm

Swings and roundabouts.

CAMM(M) can, in theory, handle saturation attacks very well and has a far higher rate of fire. There’s always that elusive “surface engagement mode” oft mentioned.

Though, to use the buzzword science term, Aster 15 will outperform the CAMM family kinematically in the majority of its flight envelope. More energy to play with and it’s PIF-PAF system, which is a significant contributor to its ability to “hit to kill”. It also has the directional warhead to fall back on too. There are still advantages to an illuminator/director system as well.

Not to say it can’t be integrated into PAAMS or that a blend can’t or won’t happen, we just have to be aware of the trade-offs. Even if the longer ranged, higher ceilinged CAMM-ER is used as a base in place of baseline Sea Ceptor.

May 16, 2016 4:21 pm

Will CAMM-ER still be quad-packable in MK41 and/or Sylver50 and above?

shark bait
May 16, 2016 4:59 pm

@TOC; yes there are of course trade-offs, reducing weapon types is a clear advantage, and there is always ASTER 30 for more kinematically demanding interceptions.

@Julian; it should do, the Mk41 is big @70cm wide, CAMM-ER being only slightly wider in a canister @30cm wide, so simple maths says it should still quad pack.

May 17, 2016 3:30 am

I thought ASTER 15 could knock down AS Ballistic Missiles, while CAMM is for the ASuW type missiles.

May 17, 2016 4:51 am

JH, technically, U-boats surfaced to recharge their batteries, not to fight it out with MPA. They get *caught* on the surface, they don’t do it deliberately. As for the Dolphins and their Blowpipes, halfway through their service life, the missiles were removed. Problem is the concept of how they operate. When detected, subs are supposed to dive and slip away, not surface and try to fight it out, hence the use of a weapon that needs the boat to surface (and not to mention gives its position away to everyone in the area when fired) doesn’t fit with how they are supposed to operate.

It’s an innovative concept mind you, just that trying to get it to fit into how subs operate is a bigger problem than the technical issues.

May 17, 2016 7:46 am

Observer. Go look at the XXI U-boat. Designed for 4x 37mm AA guns (by that stage in the war, only 20mm were available). Allied MPA had got too good at depth charging U-boats. Hence the change in tactics, to stay on the surface & fight it out.
Back to today, I agree a SSN should hide in the deep ocean, but as the RN has no SSKs anymore, operations may take SSNs into shallow water & close to shore, for the sneaky stuff. That is when a self defence capability, might be needed. Rarely, it might be used briefly as an offensive capability. Also SSNs can be damaged & forced to the surface. Do we want them to be sitting ducks?
An SSN costs at least £750 million, more likely £900-1000 million. You could buy a lot of utility helicopters for the AAC for that. Those helicopters would be very visible to politicians/public. SSNs by their very nature, are invisible. Hard then to justify 12, 10 or 8 instead of 7, unless those subs gain extra capability. I suspect that without TLAM, the UK Treasury would not have funded 7 Astutes.

Brian Black
Brian Black
May 17, 2016 1:15 pm

JH, the Astute class were designed to accommodate the USN’s submarine dry deck shelter. The DDS is intended to avoid the need to surface in order to deploy the underwater knife-fighters.

Previously, of the nuclear boats, only HMS Spartan was modified to carry a DDS, and the last diesel-electric boats were expected to surface for such special operations.

It may also be that MANPADS are carried and deployed on deck if necessary, but I’ve not heard anything about that in relation to the Royal Navy.

I don’t think TLAM was procured to justify the Astutes; submarines are necessary in their own right.

TLAM first made it onto the Swiftsure class later in their lives, and I expect that the main reason that Tomahawk went onto subs rather than ships was simply the practical issue of space. Where could you stick half-a-dozen Tomahawk on a Type 23 frigate?

I’m not sure that the tube-launched TLAM are available any more. The USN now use the vertical launch payload modules. It’s quite possible that the Royal Navy’s land attack missile capability will shift from subs and onto a destroyer or frigate class in due course.

May 17, 2016 2:25 pm

BB. Some of the World’s trouble spots are in shallow gulfs/channels/seas. A SSN is going to have to go into places, it probably would rather not, even if the rubber fetish guys have ways of getting in/out without surfacing.

May 17, 2016 8:59 pm

JH, when was the last time an SF unit got sub inserted? I really can’t bring any to mind at the moment.

shark bait
May 17, 2016 9:05 pm

isn’t that rather the point of inserting special forces by sub?

May 17, 2016 9:18 pm

Touche shark. :)

But I suspect the numbers are very, very few. For one, there are a lot of other more convenient (or at least put expensive assets less at risk) methods of insertion, even losing a CH-47 is less expensive than losing an SSN or SSK. For another, sometimes the lowest tech solutions are actually more practical. Hire/rent a fishing boat to bring you in close then canoe/zodiac in while the boat leaves is actually very workable since fishermen come and go everywhere and everywhen at sea. Worst case, canoe in all the way. It’s hardly impossible and the SF here have/had a historical thing to recreate the route of Op Jaywick annually, so it’s hardly physically impossible.

May 18, 2016 7:47 am

I think it is how the individual looks at things. In ideal conditions, the SSN stays in deep ocean & never needs a self defence missile. Whereas, the only law I truly believe in, is Murphy’s. Some of the hotspots are surrounded by shallow seas, narrow channels. The SSN may have to venture in. Subs do have collisions/technical faults from time to time, that forces them to the surface. Do we want them to be sitting ducks? Again, given the cost of a modern sub, it is going to have to be a bit more multi-role if it is to get past the Treasury.

May 18, 2016 1:08 pm

JH, if you’re in that dire straits (…pun slightly intended), no amount of SAM is going to save you, just hoist the white flag. Sure, you can talk about shooting down all MPA that comes near you (at least if they fly low enough), but then what? Engineering failures of that magnitude usually means external help is needed to get moving again, something that isn’t likely to happen if you sailed in that close to the enemy *and* are actively shooting at his MPA, pissing him off.

Focusing on killing the enemy is all well and good, but, how does that solve your longer term problem? You’re still dead in the water, the enemy knows you’re there now and you shooting at them gives them a prime cacus belli to simply put an anti-ship missile right in your hull.

Sub mounted SAMs may be tactically significant on paper, but it doesn’t actually solve anything. Most SAM mast subs eventually all had their missiles taken off. The US and their old Stinger mast, the Dolphins and their Blowpipes, the Russians had their Kilos and the Strela/Gremlin(?), which their successor did away with. It’s not like SubSAMs are a new thing, but eventually you’ll find that they all went out of service since the conditions that require their use is very, very niche. In short, it falls into the “gold-plating” category of equipment.

El Sid
El Sid
May 18, 2016 3:00 pm

How far do they go to recreate Jaywick? Does it include the fishing boat almost getting discovered in the Lombok Strait on the way home, or the followup Op Rimau, where they’re fine in the submarine before switching to a boat that gets intercepted and it ends in disaster?

Some services are better at keeping their gobs shut than others, but I think you can get some idea of the importance of insertion from the sea in the designs of modern RN vessels. Even our air-defence destroyers have helidecks for Chinooks, their preferred means of transport, and plenty of hotel accommodation for visitors. One reason for the Astutes having a bigger sail than normal is to form a fairing for DDS, and they are the first British submarines to have more bunks than crew (possibly true globally too?). It’s also notable that every time Astute shows up in Gib she’s carrying a DDS. It could be that we spent billions on our quietest ever submarines only to ruin the hydrodynamics playing piggyback for a giggle, but I’d suggest there’s a reason for it.

May 18, 2016 8:23 pm

Observer. Everything will run out of missiles, if it is stuck without help, whether its a sub or a frigate/destroyer. I like to think that RN/Allied ships/aircraft would be racing to help a stricken sub. A self defence capability is just needed until the cavalry arrives. Also, you may not have to fire a shot, if you can have a “Mexican standoff” with the local hostiles.

May 18, 2016 9:37 pm

If you want SAMs on subs there is no point doing a patch up of a job .
Do the thing right. Put a sampson radar on and purpose built missile silo for a good 100 or so aster missiles. Sail undetected to your enemies main flight path / runway for military operations and have a good old turkey shoot then slink away leaving your enemy scratching his head wondering where his airforce had gone.
One for the hair brain schemes section I think .

May 19, 2016 7:21 am

Or you could just have a quadpack of Seaceptor in the fin. Shoot down one enemy aircraft then run away leaving chaos behind you.

May 19, 2016 9:27 am

@Observer makes good points. Why have a high quality SAM on a SSN?

May 19, 2016 9:42 am

Well Britain has not used a nuclear weapon in anger (thank God), so why have Trident? When did Britain last shoot down an enemy aircraft, so why bother with Sea Viper, SeaCeptor, AMRAAM, ASRAAM & Meteor? In fact you can look at many weapon classes that have not been used in anger for a couple of decades & say scrap ’em. You never need any weapon, until you do. It is always buying insurance, you hope you will never need.

May 19, 2016 1:13 pm

@HMArmedForcesReview, @Observer: if you wanted a sub mounted SAM, Sea Ceptor isn’t it. Far too large, and without a radar and datalink, of limited use. However, having a couple of Stinger or Starstreak on a mast slaved to the periscope would be a viable last ditch defence at minimal cost. Even more importantly, the changes that would be forced upon OPFOR ASW forces would be substantial: using dipping sonar would become very risky. For that reason alone, I’d say it was perfectly justified, as well as making SSN/SSBN “self escorting” from air threats as they transit on the surface to and from Faslane :-)

The Other Chris
May 19, 2016 1:35 pm

Philosophical debate for the day:

During a Cold War, is test detonating a Deterrent Weapon considered using it in anger?

shark bait
May 20, 2016 10:23 am

Struggling to see the reason for CAMM on subs. The only use case that has emerged is to use in case of being stranded in hostile space, but even in that situation the 30km range of CAMM is vastly inferior to the range of an MPA’s sensors. It would spot you well beyond you’re engagement range, and then cue in another sub to cause trouble.

There is such a massive hole in the concept it just make so little sense to add all that complexity.

May 20, 2016 9:43 pm

It might be worth adding that exists an extended range variant of the land-based CAMM, known as CAMM-ER, also called EMADS. This is about a metre longer and significantly increases the maximum range, It being offered to export customers and was displayed at Farnborough in 2015 and DSEi last year.

May 20, 2016 11:55 pm

If you are in a diesel electric sub and need to snorkel to recharge batteries and are then prone to attack from MPA a simple fin/mast mounted Sam fired may just scare away hostile aircraft long enough for you to get out of Dodge.

For subs to start to have an An air warfare role starts to defeat their purpose as they now will need to use radars and be prone to electronic detection.

May 21, 2016 12:37 am

Don, it might have made sense in the past due to the need to snorkel, but these days, there are AIP, the need to surface is a lot less. I’ll be honest here, SAMs on subs ARE goldplating,the scenario that needs you to actually use it is so convoluted that the chance to encounter it is exceptionally low and the protocols for subs to evade detection totally counters their use (dive and go silent and sneak away).

JH, you won’t get a “Mexican Standoff”, the instant the first SAM leaves it’s tube, your aggressor is going to feed you anti-ship missiles. Your boat isn’t going to last long.

Can’t help but think people who want SAMs on subs are the people that want the sub to go “Rambo” instead of do the smart thing and slip away. Subs are NOT meant to be assault units like underwater battleships.

@El Sid

I can’t be sure, never actually asked the guys involved but my “guess” (and it is a guess) is from the drop off point to the harbour itself. What I do know is the “round island” swim endurance training where we/they swim one round around the island. With life preservers though.

May 21, 2016 3:12 pm

Forgot to reply to this:

“Philosophical debate for the day:

During a Cold War, is test detonating a Deterrent Weapon considered using it in anger?”

No, I’d call it “Fired a shot in curiosity”. :P

El Sid
El Sid
May 22, 2016 7:25 pm

Talking of diver delivery, Fareham-based SubSea Craft will be starting trials of their new toy in August :

It can be transported discreetly in an ISO container (presumably 40′ ?), dropped from a C-130 or Chinook, can go up to 8kts underwater or 40kts on the surface, with 2 crew and 8 divers and a range of 250 miles or so. Looks a much more attractive option than paddling….

@Observer – my point was that Jaywick (nearly) and Rimau show the dangers of your suggestion of “Hire/rent a fishing boat to bring you in close” versus a submarine.

Chris Werb
Chris Werb
May 22, 2016 10:44 pm

The Americans appear to have gone a step beyond CAMM-L and essentially come up with an anti everything missiles in a box system that takes everything from MMW HELLFIRE to low cost interceptors, Iron Dome and AIM-9X. I could see them eventually adding something like a guided 122mm rocket, MALD-J and the mooted powered GBU-53 and giving the system real offensive reach.

May 23, 2016 9:24 am

El Sid

Do get the point, but IIRC part of what screwed Rimau over was that their extraction sub never turned up! So both methods really do have their problems.

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