Sea Wolf is a point defense missile normally carried in a six-round launcher although newer ships employ a VLS. The missile is a beam-rider with terminal guidance.

Sea Wolf was originally envisioned as a supplement to Sea Cat, with the capability of engaging supersonic targets. It proved quite successful during the Falklands War, reportedly shooting down five aircraft. During one reported incident, four Argentine aircraft attacked a single frigate. Two were shot down and one crashed while trying to escape a Sea Wolf missile. Only the fourth aircraft escaped.

GWS-25 is carried in a six-round trainable launcher. GWS-26 is carried in VLS tubes. GWS-27 was a more sophisticated version cancelled in 1987. It would have used an active seeker and a phased-array tracker. It was to have had twice the range of the earlier missiles.


Designation Sea Wolf GWS-25, GWS-26 and GWS-27
Ship Class Used On Type 22 and 23 frigates
Date In Service 1969
Weight 180 lbs. (82 kg)
Dimensions 7.1" x 75" (18 cm x 2.0 m)
Span: 22" (56 cm)
Payload 31 lbs. (14 kg)
Speed / Range Mach 2.0 / 5,500 yards (5,000 m)
Propulsion Boost-glide, burn time 2-3 seconds


Data from:

  • "The Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapon Systems 1991/92" by Norman Friedman

Special help from Tony Gandy.

Page History

20 November 2006 - Benchmark

30 December 2013 - Added photograph of Sea Wolf on Launcher