The United Kingdom is making upgrades to the Royal Navy’s missiles to defeat drone threats in the Red Sea.
The Sea Viper air defense system will receive a new warhead and a software update to give it the capability to destroy ballistic missile threats.
The U.K. government has awarded three contracts valued at $514 million to MBDA to enhance the capabilities of the Sea Vipe systems on Type 45 warships and to ensure that the weapons remain in top operational condition for the next five years.
“As the situation in the Middle East worsens, it is vital that we adapt to keep the U.K., our allies and partners safe,” said Defence Secretary Grant Shapps.
In December, the U.K. Navy’s HMS Diamond Type 45 destroyer shot down a suspected attack drone in the Red Sea. Yemen’s Houthi rebels have been targeting foreign ships in the area since the beginning of Israel’s war against Hamas.
HMS Diamond is part of Operation Prosperity Guardian, which aims to uphold freedom of navigation and protect trade in international waters. The task force also includes three U.S. Navy destroyers and a French warship, all operating in the Red Sea.