RIM-162 ESSM Missile: Naval Anti-Air in a Quad Pack
May 21/18: Block 2 Incoming 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.
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
Additional Readings & Sources
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