Sea Ceptor launch from HMS Argyll.  Sea Ceptor is the next-generation, ship-based, all-weather, air defence weapon system.

The Royal Navy's new air missile defence system has been fired for the first time in successful trials.

The Sea Ceptor missiles were launched from HMS Argyll off the coast of Scotland and can intercept and destroy enemy missiles traveling at supersonic speeds.

It will form part of the protection for the new aircraft carriers and can deal with multiple targets at the same time, protecting an area about 500 square miles over land or sea.

The new system is a replacement for the Sea Wolf system on the Type 23 frigates.

The Commanding Officer of HMS Argyll, Commander Toby Shaughnessy, described it as an "impressive" system.

He said: "This is an exciting upgrade in capability and a great opportunity for HMS Argyll to demonstrate what the missile system can do to protect our ships from future threats.

"Sea Ceptor is an impressive and innovative system, demonstrating that the Royal Navy is at the cutting edge of technology and working hard to keep Britain safe.

"I am immensely proud of my ship’s company and the work they put in to make this test firing possible."

The system is designed to provide the Royal Navy with an improved shield against airborne threats such as the new generation of supersonic anti-ship missiles, fast jets, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said: "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."

Sea Ceptor supports around 600 UK jobs in locations across such as Stevenage, Filton and Bolton.

Tony Douglas, Chief Executive Officer for the MOD’s procurement organisation Defence Equipment and Support, said:

"The firings are an important step forward in proving the significant improvements over previous air defence systems and further evidence of our commitment to provide the very best equipment to our armed forces."

Sea Ceptor launch from HMS Argyll.
Credit: MBDA Copyright 2017