HMS Diamond shows Type 45’s potent firepower in high sea missile test

In a flash of fire and smoke, Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond has tested her world-beating Sea Viper missile system off the coast of Scotland.

Blasting from the warship's silo, the missile flew four times the speed of sound before obliterating an incoming drone target designed to simulate a projectile attack on the ship.

It marks a major milestone in the intense work-up period of the 7,500-tonne warship ahead of her deployment on operations later this year, and proves the Type 45 destroyer's capability to defend herself and other ships around her from attack.

Commander Ben Keith, the Commanding Officer of HMS Diamond, said: "An explosion in the sky marked the missile destroying her target, all in all the culmination of another successful week's work for HMS Diamond. I am immensely proud of my team and the work they put in over the past few weeks to make this test firing possible.

"We have proven once again that the Type 45 destroyer is a world-beating ship when it comes to air defence and this firing gives us the utmost confidence in Diamond and her systems in advance of our deployment later this year."

We have proven once again that the Type 45 destroyer is a world-beating ship when it comes to air defence

Commander Ben Keith, the Commanding Officer of HMS Diamond

Just two and a half seconds after erupting from its silo, the 450kg Aster missile had accelerated to more than four times the speed of sound - otherwise known as Mach 4.

High over the seas, the missile manoeuvred at G-forces which no human being could withstand, to close in and destroy the target.

In this case the target was a Mirach drone heading through the skies of the Outer Hebrides at around 500mph.

Sea Viper is the combination of the Sampson radar system - the distinctive spinning spiked ball on top of a Type 45 destroyer's main mast - and the Aster missile system in a silo on the forecastle.

The system tracks aircraft and other objects across thousands of cubic miles of airspace, identifies threats, and destroys them when necessary.

The successful missile firing was the final tick in the box for HMS Diamond's training package and marks the end of a busy few months for the ship and the men and women on board.

She will now return to Portsmouth for a final period of preparations before deploying later this year.

Diamond’s sister ship HMS Daring returned home to Portsmouth last week after a nine-month deployment to the Middle East protecting some of the world’s most vital shipping lanes. During her time away, Daring visited 12 countries, steamed 50,000 miles and undertook 20 patrols of the Bab-al-Mandeb strait to reassure merchant vessels and keep the sea lanes open for trade.