The Naval Seas Systems Command is contracting Raytheon Missile Systems in support of the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) system. The firm-fixed-price contract
is valued at $77 million and provides for the engineering, test equipment, material and management necessary to transition the ESSM Block 2 engineering. The ESSM program is an international cooperative effort to design, develop, test and procure ESSM missiles which provide enhanced ship self-defense. The RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile is used to protect ships from attacking missiles and aircraft, it is designed to counter supersonic maneuvering anti-ship missiles. The biggest goal for Block 2
is to give the missile an active seeker option that allows independent guidance. That would make the ESSM much more effective against saturation attacks, though ESSM would also retain the ability to home in on reflected radiation from the ship’s much larger and more powerful radar. ESSM Block 2’s active guidance will be especially helpful to land-based air defense systems, which are constantly under threat from enemy missiles, rockets, etc. Air defense systems can foil some radar-killing missiles by intermittently shutting off their radars. They can also use transmitted results from other search radars, while depending on their own active seeker missiles to handle target tracking once they get close. Work is expected to be completed by December 2020 and will be performed at multiple locations, including Tucson, Arizona; Hengelo, Netherlands and Ottobrunn, Germany.