The CAMM (Common Anti-Air Modular Missile) is a family of surface-to-air missiles developed by MBDA UK for the United Kingdom. CAMM shares some common features and components with the ASRAAM air-to-air missile, but with updated electronics and an active radar homing seeker.
As Sea Ceptor, CAMM is replacing the Sea Wolf missile on Type 23 frigates of the Royal Navy since 2018. As Land Ceptor, it is the missile part of the Sky Sabre air defence system, which since 2021 has been replacing the Rapier missile in British Army service. The system is also contributing to the updating of MBDA’s ASRAAM in service with the Royal Air Force.
The Common Anti-Air Modular Missile has its roots in a Technology Demonstration Programme (TDP), jointly funded by MBDA and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) as part of the United Kingdom’s Future Local Area Air Defence System (FLAADS). FLAADS is part of a wider UK ‘Team Complex Weapons’ programme to deliver a variety of weapons and maintain UK sovereign capability in this area. FLAADS is intended to deliver a common weapons platform, the Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM), to equip forces in the air, land and maritime environments. During the early stages of the FLAADS programme, requirements were identified for the new missile to meet both current and anticipated threats, namely “airborne targets which are typified by high speed, rapid evasive manoeuvres, low signatures and advanced countermeasure[s].”
Phase 1 of the TDP worked on technologies for soft vertical launch, the low-cost active radar seeker, a dual-band two-way datalink and a programmable open systems architecture. Phase 2 began in 2008 and covered the manufacture of flight-worthy subsystems, mid-course guidance firings and captive airborne seeker trials on a Qinetiq Andover experimental aircraft. The Soft Vertical Launch was proven over a series of trials, culminating in a successful truck launch in May 2011. In January 2012 the MoD awarded MBDA a £483 million contract to develop FLAADS (Maritime) to replace Sea Wolf missiles on Type 23 frigates.
CAMM is a point defence and local area defence missile designed to respond to sophisticated missile and aircraft attacks. MBDA states that CAMM has a “high rate of fire against multiple simultaneous targets”, providing capabilities comparable to the Aster 15 missile.
Development costs were reduced by a using modular design and minimised complexity. Additionally, the command and control software reuses over 75% of that developed for the PAAMS system.
CAMM has a minimum operational range of less than 1 km and a maximum range greater than 25 km, although IHS Jane’s reports that trials have a shown a capability of up to 60 km. These ranges are significantly greater than the 1–10 km range of Sea Wolf and other systems that CAMM will replace. CAMM weighs 99 kilograms (218 lb), is 3.2 m (10 ft 6 in) in length, 166 millimetres (6.5 in) diameter and reaches generous supersonic speeds of Mach 3 (or 1,020 meters per second).
CAMM’s claimed benefits include:
- Active RF seeker that means there is no need for complex and high-cost fire control/illumination radars
- A two-way datalink.
- A Soft Vertical Launch (SVL) system that offers 360° degree coverage. This uses a gas generator to eject the missile from its canister, the benefits of which include increased range – by saving all the rocket motor’s energy to power the intercept – reduced minimum intercept range, reduced stress on launch platforms, reduced maintenance costs, more compact installations on ships and there being no need to manage the hot gas efflux on board, reduced launch signature, and on land the possibility of firing the missile from wooded or urban areas.
- CAMM comes in its own launch canisters, or alternately can be quad-packed into existing vertical launching systems.
CAMM’s Extended Range application is known as CAMM-ER and has been under development with MBDA and Avio for the Italian MoD since 2013. The CAMM-ER (extended range variant) shares the same characteristics of the original CAMM with the exception of a new Avio rocket engine which significantly increases the missile’s engagement range, out to 45 km and a slightly adapted missile structure. The missile is 160 kilograms (350 lb) in weight, 4.2 metres (14 ft) in length, 190 millimetres (7.5 in) diameter.
The maritime application of CAMM is known as Sea Ceptor.
MBDA claims that CAMM has a “wide target set”, including the capability to engage small naval vessels, which would give the missile a limited surface-to-surface role. The Anti-Air-Warfare Officer of the Type 23 Frigate HMS Westminster said after test firings “Westminster managed to explore the real potential of the system during her training and to say it is a real game changer is an understatement. Unlike its predecessor, the system is capable of defending ships other than Westminster herself. Whether it’s engaging multiple air threats or fast incoming attack craft, Sea Ceptor represents a massive capability upgrade for the Type 23 frigate.”
The maritime application of CAMM-ER is known as Albatros NG.
The system has over three times the range of its predecessor Rapier. This system consists of Land Ceptor missiles, SAAB Giraffe AMB radars and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Modular Integrated C4I Air & Missile Defense System (MIC4AD), all mounted on MAN trucks.
For international customers, MBDA markets the ‘Enhanced Modular Air Defence Solutions (EMADS).
Originally, the CAMM program aspired to provide Land, Sea and Air launched capabilities, but it was deemed more effective to instead develop CAMM for use for land and sea only, while using the well established ASRAAM short range air-to-air missile to cover the air launched role. However, technologies and components developed for CAMM have been used as part of an upgrade to ASRAAM.
|Warhead||High-explosive blast fragmentation warhead with proximity and impact fuze|
|Warhead weight||10 kg (22 lb)|
|Engine||Solid-fuel rocket motor|
|Wingspan||450 mm (18 in)|
|Flight altitude||10,000 m (33,000 ft)|
|Maximum speed||Mach 3 (1,029 m/s; 3,376 ft/s)|
|Inertial guidance system with mid-course update and active radar terminal homing|
Four folding cruciform wings
- Chilean Navy – Replaced Sea Wolf on the current Type 23 frigates
- Royal New Zealand Navy – Anzac-class frigate upgrade.
- United Kingdom
- Royal Navy – Sea Ceptor was officially declared “in service” with the Royal Navy in May 2018, and the Type 23 frigate fleet is being upgraded from Sea Wolf. Sea Ceptor will also equip the Type 26 frigates, Type 31 frigates and Type 45 destroyers.
- British Army – Sky Sabre began entering service with the Royal Artillery in January 2022, replacing Rapier.
- Polish Armed Forces – CAMM was selected as part of Poland’s Narew ground-based air defence system in November 2021. In April 2022, Poland bought two CAMM system fire units (1 battery) as a bridge solution until the target version for the Narew program was developed. The set includes a total of 6 iLaunchers (3 per fire unit), 2 ZDPSR Soła radars, Polish command system and transport vehicles, and a supply of missiles.