Navy asks Raytheon to build ESSM Block 2 anti-air shipboard missiles in potential $1.3 billion deal

Sept. 30, 2021
ESSM medium-range, semi-active homing missile makes flight corrections via radar and midcourse data uplinks to defend against cruise missiles.

WASHINGTON – Missile experts at Raytheon Technologies Corp. will build two years worth of next-generation shipboard missiles able to defeat a wide variety of aircraft and missile threats with an active radar seeker than can operate independently of the launch ship under terms of a potential $1.3 billion contract announced Thursday.

Officials of the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington are asking the Raytheon Missiles & Defense segment in Tucson, Ariz., for 2021-2023 RIM-162 Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 full-rate production. The contract's initial value is $358 million. With options the contract could reach nearly $1.3 billion over the next six years.

The ESSM Block 2 first was deployed with the Navy and allied navies last year. It is a ship self-defense missile with a dual-mode X-band radar seeker than can engage enemy planes and missiles at ranges beyond 25 miles. RIM stands for radar intercept missile.

Compared with its ESSM Block 1 predecessor, the ESSM Block 2 has increased maneuverability and other enhancements that enable the missile to defeat future threats to U.S. and allied navies operating in hostile environments, Raytheon officials say. The ESSM Block 2’s active seeker will support terminal engagement without the launch ship’s target illumination radars.

Related: Navy asks Raytheon for more Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block 2A anti-air missiles for shipboard defense

In addition to the U.S. Navy, the governments of Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey will operate ESSM Block 2 anti-air missile.

ESSM is a medium-range, semi-active homing missile that makes flight corrections via radar and midcourse data uplinks. The missile provides reliable ship self-defense capability against agile, high-speed, low-altitude anti-ship cruise missiles, low velocity air threats like helicopters, and high-speed, maneuverable surface threats.

The missile is 12 feet long and has 10-inch-diameter control and rocket motor sections that tapper to an 8-inch-diameter guidance section with a radome-protected antenna for semi-active homing and a warhead. It has a high-thrust, solid-propellant rocket motor and tail control via a thrust vector controller.

Related: Boeing moves to arm U.S. Navy P-8A long-range maritime patrol aircraft with advanced anti-ship missile

The first production ESSM Block 1 was delivered in late 2002 and has been in full operational use in the U.S. since 2004.

Raytheon will do the work on this contract in Tucson, Ariz.; Edinburgh and Eight Mile Plains, Australia; San Jose, Torrance, and Westlake Village, Calif.; Raufoss, Norway; Mississauga and Cambridge, Ontario; Ottobrunn, Germany; Nashua, N.H.; Hengelo Ov, The Netherlands; H Koropi Attica, Greece; Canton, N.Y.; Ankara, Turkey; Grenaa and Lystrup, Denmark; Madrid; Milwaukie, Ore.; Lawrence, Maine; and Clearwater, Fla., and should be finished by March 2025.

For more information contact Raytheon Missiles & Defense online at, or Naval Sea Systems Command at

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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