Sea Wolf (missile)
The earliest point-defence missile used by the Royal Navy was the Seacat , which had been rapidly developed from an earlier anti-tank missile design, the Malkara. As a weapon designed to operate against slow-moving ground vehicles, the missile had subsonic performance and was of limited capability against even early jet aircraft.
It was, however, very easy to adapt to the role simply by replacing the original wire guidance system with a radio command link, and its small size allowed multi-round launchers to be fit to existing ships in place of their Bofors 40 mm guns. It entered service in , the first point-defence missile to do so. The limited performance was understood to be a problem from the start, and a requirement for a higher performance replacement was published in Although only slightly longer and heavier than Seacat, it offered dramatically higher performance, with a top speed on the order of Mach 3 and an effective range roughly double that of Seacat.
Additionally, it had a fully automated guidance system that made engagements much simpler. The first deployment, in the GWS form, was on the Type 22 frigate 2 systems and later on modified Leander class frigates 1 system in six-round, manually loaded trainable launchers. It entered service with the Royal Navy in and was fired in anger during the Falklands War. It is expected to remain in service until In the manually loaded form, the missiles are stored on board in individual maintenance-free canisters, sealed until use and handled like a round of ammunition.
The system's standard mode is fully automated and uses radar tracking. Target detection is carried out using the parent ship's surveillance radars. On the Type 23 frigates, these functions have been taken over by the Type 3D surveillance radar.
Target data is processed by the ship's computers and, when the system is live, targets are automatically assigned and engaged without the need for human intervention although this can be over-ridden by the Missile Director MD in the Operations Room. When a target is to be engaged, the ship's computer slews one of the two Sea Wolf trackers onto the target there was a single tracker on a Sea Wolf Leander. Originally the Type , with an I-band radar, was used but this suffered from poor performance locking onto low-altitude targets hidden in the background sea clutter in the Falklands War.
Low-level targets had to be engaged using the 's secondary TV mode to manually track the target.
Subsequently, the lighter Type supplanted the Type , adding a second radar a K-band set based on the Blindfire tracker of the Rapier missile , to control engagements at low level and was fitted in the 7th Type 22 Frigate onwards. And there are good reasons besides a tradition of secrecy to do so quietly. A month later the U. Thousands of miles from Washington State. How Seawolf got to Norway—and what she might have done en route—offer a rare and tantalizing glimpse into some of the most secretive quarters of the most poorly understood aspects of American naval power.
Seawolf-class submarine - Wikipedia
Navy statements and photo releases, the occasional news article. Archived from the original on 6 October Retrieved 22 December The Naval Institute guide to the ships and aircraft of the U. Submarine Technology for the 21st Century.
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Retrieved 5 April Federation of American Scientists. Archived from the original on 3 July Retrieved 10 June General Dynamics Electric Boat. Archived from the original on 30 September Retrieved 5 August US submarine classes after Lipscomb Los Angeles class Seawolf class Virginia class.