Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 Anti-Air Missile
Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 Anti-Air Missile

Raytheon Awarded $269 Million US Navy Contract for ESSM Missile Full Rate Production

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Arizona, is awarded a $269,034,300 firm-fixed-price modification to previously awarded contract in support of the fiscal 2021-2023 Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 full rate production requirements. Work is expected to complete March 2025. The ESSM® guided missile is an international cooperative upgrade of the RIM-7 Seasparrow Missile. It provides self-defense battlespace and firepower against high-speed, highly maneuverable anti-ship missiles in the naval environment. The U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

The RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) is a development of the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missile used to protect ships from attacking missiles and aircraft. The Sea Sparrow was an expedient design intended to provide defensive fire in a system that could be deployed as rapidly as possible. The AIM-7 Sparrow was the simplest solution as its radar guidance allowed it to be fired head-on at targets by mounting an aircraft radar on a trainable platform. ESSM is designed to counter supersonic maneuvering anti-ship missiles. ESSM also has the ability to be “quad-packed” in the Mark 41 Vertical Launch System, allowing up to four ESSMs to be carried in a single cell.

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U.S. Navy Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM) Block II
U.S. Navy RIM-162 Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM) Block II (Photo by Raytheon)

Developed by the U.S. Navy and nine of the other 11-member nations of the NATO SEASPARROW Consortium, the ESSM missile is bringing transformational anti-ship missile defense capabilities to the U.S., NATO and other allies. Members of the Consortium include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United States. With more than 2,000 proven rounds in service or in production and another 1,500 rounds anticipated based on customer requirements, the ESSM missile will likely be supported through 2030 and beyond.

In the 2000s the NATO Seasparrow Project Office began planning an upgraded Block 2 version of the ESSM. In 2014 Canada pledged 200M CAD to underwrite their share of the Block 2’s development cost. ESSM Block 2 leverages the existing Block 1 rocket motor and features a dual-mode X band seeker, increased maneuverability, and other enhancements. Block 2 features enhanced communications systems that allow for mid-course guidance correction, which makes the missiles easy to network into the Navy’s emerging Cooperative Engagement Capability. The improved ESSM Block II will be fielded by the US Navy from 2020.

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