• Credit: SEA
    Credit: SEA

As the maritime threat environment is changing with ships becoming more exposed to swarm missile attacks and hypersonic missiles in the future there is a need for defensive systems to more rapidly engage targets from different directions.

To meet these emerging requirements, SEA has designed a new trainable decoy launcher called Ancilia, which the company is marketing at the Indo-Pacific Maritime exhibition. The launcher is pedestal-mounted meaning that it can rotate and best position the launcher to deploy decoys and engage targets.

Richard Flitton, the Managing Director of SEA told ADM that this is a vast improvement on fixed decoy launchers that are currently fitted to ships, which means that when an incoming missile is detected the ship has to position itself in the best way to deploy its decoys. This manoeuvring takes time, which is not available in the new threat environment where swarms of missiles may attack from different directions anyway and hypersonic missiles will give a limited warning time in the span of seconds.

He explained that the Ancilia is also designed to be decoy-round agnostic so that it can fire any different variety of NATO standard 130mm decoy rounds from any supplier; that it will fit into the physical footprint of existing launchers so that it does not take up any additional deck space; and is a lighter weight system compared to other competitor trainable decoy systems.

The market for decoy systems is growing as smaller ships, such as Offshore Patrol Vessels are being equipped with more sophisticated sensors and weapons that might make them a more attractive target for an opponent. It means that a decoy system becomes necessary as a basic level of protection, meanwhile larger ships can afford a hybrid mix of fixed and trainable decoy launchers to achieve 360° coverage.

A production prototype has been built and completed computer modelling tests. According to Flitton, Ancilia will need to complete live test firings using different decoys and the company is planning on talking to decoy manufacturers to facilitate a test programme.

The results of a live test will likely require a few tweaks to the system, however, he added that Ancilia was launched at DSEI in September and is ready for sale with a first system delivery to take place from the 2025 timeframe. A launch customer is expected to be announced soon.

Ancilia has space for 12 decoys on the launcher and the complete system includes two launcher units with two loaders control panels, two power supply units, an operators control panel and a bridge key unit. The launcher is 1.6m tall, 1.4m-wide and 1.5m deep with a weight of 1,320kg. It can attain a firing position within three seconds from its centreline and has an elevation of +/- 160° from the centreline offering 320° in total with up to 90° vertical elevation.

comments powered by Disqus