Sea Wolf


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Interesting papargraph from flight global on Sea Wolf mountings

'As an example of the volume saving with vertical launch, BAe points out that 49 ready-to-fire missiles could replace the 12 Seawolfs in a GWS25 equipped Type 22 with no structural modifications to the ship and with no need to store missiles in the deep magazine. Typically, the missiles would be distributed around the ship in batteries of eight. The launchers can be entirely sunk into the ship, where they take up two decks, but if a customer wants to leave his second deck clear, he can place the launchers in a semi-recessed position.'

Had VL been adopted from the start, could more ships have been considered for Sea Wolf?

and an interesting few lines here on the propsed mounting for the Leanders and Type 21

Not that clear cut. The deep magazines held advantages in damage control and it is worth remembering that the deep magazines in the Type 22's hold considerably more missiles than a Type 23 carries.

Romania's Type 22's replace the Sea Wolf directors with VLS Mica cells.
Going through some folder and found this FlightGlobal article again.

Anyone have an idea how the 49 VL Sea Wolf would be arranged to replace the 12 in the OTL configuration?

The article also mentions that 'typically, the missiles would be distributed around the ship in batteries of 8'.

Is that distribution a better option than in one or two concentrations?
I suspect that 49 might be a typo for 48... ;)

"Batteries of 8" will refer to the original VL Seawolf coming in an 8-round launcher - the Type 23 has 4 such launchers forward.

It might be possible to replace the forward 6-round launcher on a Type 23 with two or maybe three 8-round VLS. However there are several other spaces in that area that would have to be displaced so it would not simply by a "drop in" change.

The aft launcher does not have any space underneath it (just the hangar!), so they may have been considering putting 2 x 8 on the starboard side of the hangar.

Regarding magazines; T22 carries more SW than T23 because they are bigger. Had T23 been fitted with GWS-25 or LWSW I would have been very surprised if they could have carried more missiles. Given the additional weight and space requirements of magazines, lifts and reloading, the capacity may well have been smaller - or the ship larger.

RP1 said:
I suspect that 49 might be a typo for 48... ;)

That was my first thought but then I wondered if some kind of Mk41 reloading at sea installation was considered.

Another question, does anyone have any details on the Vickers twin launcher with auto reload - magazine capacity etc?

I have various lightweight SW brochures.

Clip from the VM40 (export LWSW) brochure attached.



  • VM40_lcr_broc.jpg
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Thanks for that.

Am I right in assuming there is no specific magazine size for the launcher?

Would it be a case of the crew taking missiles from the magazine and hand loading them into the system for it to automatically take to the above deck part?

That is my understanding, yes. Note that the 6-round launchers would usually have a "ready use" magazine nearby with x missiles in it, which would be used to reload the launcher, and themselves be reloaded in slow time from the deep magazines. One would expect LWSW to be similar, but with the ease of being under cover.

The containerised Sea Wolf version of VM40 used this launcher on a TEU also containing the launcher control room (i.e. switchboards and local power supplies) and a small number of missiles.

As a minor note on reloading VLSW - Friedman says that they can be reloaded at sea

And I'm pretty certain I was told that this was possible for the VLS on a Type 23, but never practiced in reality.

Start at the top.
Source Norman Friedman's British Destroyers and Frigates, page 297.

1963 Summer discussions began.

1964 January 9 GD302 submitted. Desired ISD 1972.

1964 April Joint RN MoA study group formed.
Looks at alternative solutions. Guns ruled out, IR guided missiles ruled out, Sparrow II ruled out on size and weight. Noted the French were not developing Roland for warships and predicted US would drop Mauler.
Softkill (EW, decoys etc..) alone also ruled out, but viewed as worth investment 'with' a new missile system.
Rapier examined, concluded it would need larger warhead, new fuse and essentially a new missile body. Or in other words, Rapier ruled out, but elements of the technology ruled in.

1964 May Tripartite French Dutch and British agreement on a new SAM, in July agreed the UK would continue it's national effort.

1964 December, five sketched solutions looked at, and immediately three rejected on cost and size grounds.
Remaining options termed A and B
A, a lightweight system for small craft, used a combined search/track system under consideration for a new lightweight gun fire control. It would replace Sea Cat on frigates. 60 to 80kg missile.
B, command guidance of system A or SARH. This will became Sea Wolf

1965 May Third meeting in Paris, added a third option, option C of high performance, likely under pressure from the French. Who were most interested in this.
Option C would try to intercept the target at 7km and any passing target within 4km of the ship, i.e. crossing targets. Using a 140kg SARH missile or 80kg command guided weapon.

1965 15 Oct, Confessor feasibility study. Limited to 90kg to be handleable by personnel. Storable vertically on one deck limiting it to 2m in length.

1966 Germany signs MoU but withdraw in early '67, at least partly due to unwillingness to incur R&D costs.

RN compromises on performance of the missile, the French leave (they wanted the high performance option) and the Dutch adopt Sparrow III. The Dutch are recorded as only interested in Sea Wolf if it uses Dutch radar.

Would be interesting to know what the other three options were....
I notice the RN did'nt look at Contravene's Indigo

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