RIM-162 ESSM Missile: Naval Anti-Air in a Quad Pack
August 29/19: ESSM Block II The US Navy contracted Raytheon with a $190 million low-rate initial production contract for ESSM Block 2 missiles featuring a new guidance system with a dual mode active and semi-active radar. Raytheon says in a press release that the award follows the Navy’s decision to shift from development to production on the enhanced intermediate-range, surface-to-air missile, placing the Block 2 variant on track for initial operating capability in 2020. The ESSM Block 2 program is a co-operative effort between the USN and its 11 NATO SeaSparrow Consortium partners to develop an upgraded ESSM ‘front-end’ to counter current and future threat capabilities within the existing envelope. These include anti-ship cruise missiles, anti-ship ballistic missiles, and surface threats.
The RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) is used to protect ships from attacking missiles and aircraft, and is designed to counter supersonic maneuvering anti-ship missiles. Compared to the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow, ESSM is effectively a new missile with a larger, more powerful rocket motor for increased range, a different aerodynamic layout for improved agility, and the latest missile guidance technology. Testing has even shown the ESSM to be effective against fast surface craft, an option that greatly expands the missile’s utility. As a further bonus, the RIM-162 ESSM has the ability to be “quad-packed” in the Mk 41 vertical launching system, allowing 4 missiles to be carried per launch cell instead of loading one larger SM-2 Standard missile or similar equipment.
This is DID’s FOCUS article for the program, containing details about the RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missile family, and contracts placed under this program since 1999. The Sea Sparrow was widely used aboard NATO warships, so it isn’t surprising that the ESSM is an international program. The NATO Sea Sparrow Consortium includes Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and the USA – as well as non-NATO Australia. Foreign Military Sales ESSM customers outside this consortium include Japan, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.
ESSM: The Missiles
More Than An Upgrade
ESSM Program: The USA, and Beyond
ESSM-Related Contracts & Key Events
FY 2014 – 2015
FY 2002 – 2005
FY 2002 and earlier
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