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Raytheon has been awarded a contract to begin the low rate initial production of the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block 2 for the US Navy.

Under the $51.7m contract, Raytheon will develop and deliver 51 Block 2 MK-44 Mod 4 RAM guided missile all-up-rounds.

The contract also includes options, which when exercised bring the total value of the award to more than $105m.

Raytheon Missile Systems Naval Weapon Systems vice president Rick Nelson said that the next-generation RAM would the assist US and allied naval forces in striking against more sophisticated emerging threats.

"Through Raytheon’s collaborative relationship with our German partner RAMSYS, we continue to improve and expand the capabilities of RAM," Nelson added.

"RAM has been fired in more than 300 flight tests, with a 95% success rate."

The RAM Block 2 is an upgraded version of RAM, which is a supersonic, lightweight, quick reaction, fire-and-forget missile.

“RAM has been fired in more than 300 flight tests, with a 95% success rate.”

Having successfully completed guided flight tests, the ship self-defence missile is scheduled to undergo an intercept test later in the year to demonstrate its capability, in addition to government developmental testing initiation in support of fleet deployment.

Co-developed and co-produced by the US and Germany under the international cooperative programme, the RAM guided-missile weapon system features enhanced kinematics, an evolved radio frequency receiver and a new rocket motor.

The missile also features upgraded control and autopilot system to provide anti-ship missile defence simultaneously for multiple ship platforms, such as anti-ship cruise missiles, helicopter and airborne threats, as well as hostile surface craft.

Work will be carried out at the company’s facilities in Arizona, West Virginia and Massachusetts, US, and in Germany; it is scheduled to be complete by September 2014.

Image: Raytheon’s rolling airframe missile system being equipped into a launcher onboard USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) aircraft carrier. Photo: US Navy photo by mass communication specialist, third class Ann Marie Lazarek.