WASHINGTON – Missile experts at Raytheon Technologies Corp. will build three years worth of assemblies for 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 $78.7 million 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 guided missile assemblies for RIM-162 Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 full-rate production.
The ESSM Block 2 first was deployed with the Navy and allied navies in 2020. The ship self-defense missile has 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 anti-aircraft missiles have 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.
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 enemy surface vessels.
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.
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, Australia; San Jose, Torrance, and Westlake Village, Calif.; Raufoss, Norway; Mississauga and Cambridge, Ontario; Ottobrunn, Germany; Nashua, N.H.; Hengelo Ov, The Netherlands; Koropi Attica, Greece; Canton, N.Y.; Ankara, Turkey; Grenaa, Denmark, and at other locations, and should be finished by March 2025.