Common Anti Air Modular Missile (CAMM)
The Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) is described by MBDA as;
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.
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.
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!
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.
In 2008, the Complex Weapons Portfolio approach was announced, with FLAADS(M) one of the first systems to be completed;
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;
Commenting on Sea Ceptor, Chief of the naval staff and First Sea Lord Admiral, Sir George Zambellas, said;
Thales announced in 2012 that they would provide the laser proximity fuze for CAMM;
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;
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.
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.
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.
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.
After a competitive phase, the command and control system is the Rafael Modular, Integrated C4I Air Defense System.
Rafael describe MIC4AD as;
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.