Raytheon has been awarded two contracts worth $212.8m to design and develop the Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM) for the US Navy and for Japan’s Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The first contract, awarded by the US Navy Nato Seasparrow Project Office (NSPO), is for Raytheon to continue production of the missile through 2014 and also includes a $33m option for further production. The contract also includes the supply of miscellaneous spare parts, containers and test equipment for the NSPO consortium-member navies.

Under the second two-year direct commercial sale contract, Raytheon will supply missile components and assemblies to Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO) for the development and delivery of the missile weapon to Japan’s MoD.

Raytheon Missile Systems ESSM programme director Ed Roesly said: "ESSM is the foundation of our allies’ anti-ship missile defence."

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By GlobalData

The ESSM is a developed version of the RIM-7 Seasparrow Missile and is used to defend high-speed, highly manoeuvrable anti-ship cruise missiles, surface threats and low-velocity air threats. It also bridges the capability gap between close-in air defence and local-area defence systems. In addition to the enhanced firepower, the missile offers increased performance against smaller, sea-skimming targets, while also being capable of combating threats posed by current and next-generation anti-ship missiles.

The tail-controlled missile features transformational anti-ship missile defence capabilities and upgraded seeker sensitivity, while increased propulsion and greater weapon accuracy provides greater speed and agility to counter threats.

Work on the second contract will be carried out at MELCO’s facility in Japan. Funding will be provided by the Nato Seasparrow consortium, which includes the US, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Turkey.