Britain’s Ministry of Defence said it had awarded a 483 million pound ($760 million) contract to European missile maker MBDA to develop a new missile defence system for the Royal Navy.
The Sea Ceptor system, capable of intercepting missiles at sea, will be developed under a “demonstration” contract with MBDA (UK) expected to last for five years, the ministry said in a statement.
The new system will be able to intercept and destroy incoming missiles travelling at supersonic speeds and to deal with multiple targets at once, Reuters reports.
Sea Ceptor has been designed for initial use on the Type 23 frigate to replace the Sea Wolf air defence system when it goes out of service in 2016 and is planned to be used on the planned new Type 26 warship.
The ministry said the contract would maintain about 500 jobs in MBDA and its supply chain in Britain.
MBDA, the world’s second-largest missile manufacturer after U.S. arms maker Raytheon, groups most missile activities of Britain, France, Germany and Italy. It is owned by Franco-German group EADS, Britain’s BAE Systems and Italy’s Finmeccanica.