Raytheon Begins Low-Rate Initial Production of Block 2 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile

Fire Controlman 2nd Class Daniel Boice uses a guided-missile loader to upload an Evolved Seasparrow Missile into the forward launcher aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima. U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joe J. Cardona Gonzalez

TUCSON, Ariz. — The U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon Co. a $190 million low-rate initial production contract for Block 2 versions of the Evolved SeaSparrow Missile, the company said in a release. ESSM Block 2 missiles feature a new guidance system with a dual mode active and semi-active radar.

This award follows the Navy’s decision to shift from development to production on the enhanced intermediate-range, surface-to-air missile, placing the Block 2 variant on track for initial operating capability next year.

The ESSM missile is the primary ship self-defense missile aboard Navy aircraft carriers and large-deck amphibious assault ships. It is an integral component of the Navy’s layered area and ship self-defense capability for cruisers and destroyers.

“ESSM plays a critical role in protecting navy sailors worldwide and our international partners share our commitment to evolve this missile,” said Mitch Stevison, Raytheon Strategic and Naval Systems’ vice president.

ESSM is the foundation of several allied navies’ anti-ship missile defense efforts and is operational on almost 200 naval platforms worldwide. The ESSM program is a cooperative effort managed by a NATO-led consortium made up of 12 nations: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United States.