Royal Navy Vessels to Get Decoy Launchers to Counter Hypersonics

The UK is investing 135 million pounds ($170 million) in trainable decoy launchers to enhance the protection of Royal Navy surface vessels against emerging threats such as hypersonic missiles.

Type 45 destroyers and future Type 26 and Type 31 frigates will be fitted with the Ancilia maritime countermeasures solution under the contract awarded to Systems Engineering & Assessment Ltd.

“This contract will enable enhanced effect against emerging anti-ship missile threats, linking with the MEWSIC [Maritime Electronic Warfare Systems Integrated Capability] programme to ultimately deliver a modern detection and response capability to protect current RN Destroyer’s and the new T26 and T31 Frigate platforms,” UK Electronic Warfare Counter Measure Project Manager Rebecca Fullerton said.

Trainable Decoy Launcher

A naval decoy launcher deploys multiple decoys to trick and divert an incoming missile away from the ship, enhancing its survivability.

According to the Devon-based manufacturer, Ancilia’s trainable nature allows a vessel to defeat an incoming threat without the maneuvering needed with traditional fixed solutions.

It is compatible with a range of vessels and can fire any standard 130mm NATO decoy, such as the 130 mm caliber Mk 216 and Mk 217 radio frequency distraction decoys and the 130 mm MK 245 infrared seduction decoy.

“This launcher .. will provide the Royal Navy’s surface fleet with a cutting edge Electronic Warfare solution into future which complements the Royal Navy’s broader capabilities,” Senior Responsible Officer for the wider MEWP Royal Navy Cdre Matthew Stratton said.

Delivery Expected From Late 2026

The contract is part of Royal Navy’s MEWSIC program “to progressively update surface ship electronic surveillance, electronic warfare command and control, and countermeasures capabilities over the next 20 years.”

The Somerset-headquartered firm edged out Elbit Systems UK to clinch the Electronic Warfare Counter Measure Increment 1a award to replace the 130 mm decoy launch system.

A total of 38 launchers will reportedly be fitted across 19 vessels, with delivery expected in late 2026.

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