Raytheon to provide shipboard MK 49 missile launchers to protect Navy surface warships from enemy air attack

July 2, 2019
The RAM ship self-defense weapon protects Navy surface warships of all sizes, ranging from 500-ton fast attack craft to 95,000-ton aircraft carriers.

WASHINGTON – Shipboard missile-defense experts at the Raytheon Co. will provide the U.S. Navy and U.S. allies with launch systems for the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) to protect ships from aircraft, missiles, and small surface vessels under terms of a $36.7 million order announced Friday.

Officials of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington are asking Raytheon Missile Systems segment in Tucson, Ariz., to provide RAM MK 49 Mod 3 Guided Missile Launching Systems (GMLSs).

RAM and the MK 49 launcher and support equipment make up the RAM MK 31 Guided Missile Weapon System (GMWS). Raytheon will buy material, build parts, and assemble the launchers. The contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy and Japan.

RAM is a ship self-defense weapon designed to protect Navy surface warships ships of all sizes, ranging from 500-ton fast attack craft to 95,000-ton aircraft carriers.

Related: Navy asks Raytheon to produce Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block 2 for shipboard missile defense

A supersonic, lightweight, quick-reaction, fire-and-forget weapon, the RAM missile system is designed to attack enemy helicopters, aircraft, and surface craft. It uses passive RF and infrared guidance for engaging several threats simultaneously.

RAM Block 2 for shipboard use has a large rocket motor, advanced control section, and an enhanced RF receiver able to detect quiet threat emitters. It is more maneuverable and longer range than its predecessors.

The MK 44 guided missile round pack and the MK 49 guided missile launching system together hold 21 missiles. Existing shipboard sensors can provide the system with target and pointing information.

The MK 44 missile, also part of the SeaRAM anti-ship missile defense system, is replacing the M601A1 Gatling gun in the Phalanx close-in weapon system with an 11-round launcher.

Related: Navy pushes shipboard unmanned systems, lethality upgrades

The Phalanx system’s infrared sensor suite and internal combat management system reduces its dependence on the ship’s combat system and enables a fast reaction.

The RAM is an international cooperative program between the U.S. and Germany. Raytheon shares development, production, and maintenance with the German companies MBDA Missile Systems in Schrobenhausen, Germany; Diehl BGT Defence (DBD) in Überlingen, Germany; and RAM-System GmbH (RAMSYS) in Ottobrunn, Germany.

On this contract Raytheon and its partners will do the work in Tucson, Ariz.; Ottobrunn, Germany; Louisville, Ky.; Huntsville, Ala.; San Diego; Tulsa, Okla.; Berryville, Ark.; and other U.S. locations, and should be finished by June 2021.

For more information contact Raytheon Missile Systems online at www.raytheon.com, or Naval Sea Systems Command at www.navsea.navy.mil.

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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