The UK Minister of State for Defence Procurement recently outlined the capabilities of the Royal Navy’s future destroyer, including directed energy weapons.
The Future Air Dominance System Type 83 destroyer is slated to join the navy in the late 2030s to replace the Type 45 warships.
The six Type 45 vessels have been in service since 2009.
“These are more than just ships,” James Cartlidge of the Future Air Dominance System said at the Full Spectrum Air Defence Conference in London.
“They are a distributed sensor network. Effectively a ‘system of systems.’”
Apart from directed energy or laser weapons, the minister said the “highly automated” warship will feature “uncrewed systems and complex radar sensing capabilities.”
The latter two capabilities, the minister elaborated, would “raise an umbrella over our fleet,” contributing “to control of the air over a wider area and allow us to maintain freedom of maneuver through increased detection ranges.”
Future Air Dominance System
The UK government officially unveiled the Type 83 project in March 2021.
In February 2022, the UK Ministry of Defence revealed that the vessel would be engineered to counter the threat posed by hypersonic missiles.
It added that the platform will be a part of a broader defense framework called the Future Air Dominance System.
No concrete details of the vessel have been made public. However, a concept image shown at a naval conference revealed that the ship is about the size of the Chinese Type 055 destroyer (around 12,000 tons).
The Type 83 is expected to begin the conceptualization phase soon.