The sixth of Britain’s Type 45 destroyers HMS Duncan successfully downed a target with her Sea Viper missile – the perfect fourth birthday present for the Portsmouth-based warship.
Seconds after erupting from its silo, the 450kg Aster 30 missile accelerated to four times the speed of sound over the Atlantic as it maneuvered at G-forces which no human being could withstand to intercept the small unmanned target.
The destroyer had hoped to launch Sea Viper on the fourth anniversary of her launch – October 11, also the anniversary of the day the ship’s namesake Admiral Adam Duncan routed the Dutch Fleet at Camperdown in 1797 – but weather conditions off the Outer Hebrides scuppered the firing.
At 3pm on Sunday October 12, however, conditions improved – and the sight of Sea Viper erupting from the silo was jaw-dropping for those watching on HMS Duncan’s bridge.
The Sea Viper success is the final weapons milestone for HMS Duncan – she has now tested every weapon aboard and has already completed her basic pre-deployment training.
Press Release, October 14, 2014; Image: UK Navy