Evolution of ESSM
(Common Defense Quarterly, Fall 2010)
ESSM® provides proven Naval self defense and expands into Ground Based Air Defense
Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM) is an international cooperative upgrade of the RIM-7 Seasparrow Missile. ESSM provides self-defense battlespace and firepower against high-speed, highly maneuverable anti-ship missiles in the Naval environment.
ESSM is bringing transformational anti-ship missile defense capabilities to the fleets of the United States, NATO and other allies. The missile was developed by the U.S. Navy and nine of the other 11 member nations of the NATO SEASPARROW Consortium. Members of the Consortium include: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and the United States.
ESSM is deployed on U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, Ticonderoga class cruisers, Aircraft Carriers, large deck Amphibious ships and various surface combatants of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Turkey. The ESSM program has a licensed production agreement with Japan and is integrated on multiple Japanese platforms.
Future integration is underway with the U.S. Navy's DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers as well as the surface combatants of the NATO SEASPARROW Consortium and multiple third-party international navies.
ESSM Moves from Water to Land
Raytheon Missile Systems, along with a global industrial partnership, has introduced an initiative that expands the missile’s original mission from sea based to ground-based air defense arena. ESSM used in a ground-based application will build on the proven capabilities of the ship-based application by providing the same air defense capability against the full threat spectrum, including aircraft, high and low velocity air threats, and high divers.
ESSM is the third Raytheon missile to be successfully fired from the NASAMS launcher (joining AMRAAM and AIM-9X). The benefits of adding ESSM to Ground Based Air Defense are:
- Extended range
- A additional complementary capability
- A common logistics infrastructure and procurement for nations that already have ESSM in their Naval inventory.
ESSM currently has over 2000 proven rounds in service or in production with another 1500 rounds anticipated. It is likely that ESSM will be supported through 2030 and beyond, based on current customer requirements.