The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency has notified US Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support to Thailand.
Under the estimated $18m FMS, Thailand had requested for nine ESSMs, three MK25 quad pack canisters, four MK783 shipping containers, spare and repair parts, as well as support and test equipment.
The package also includes publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, US Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, and technical assistance, in addition to other related elements of logistical and programme support.
Expected to support the foreign policy and national security of the US, the missile capability will help bolster Thailand's regional security and improve interoperability with the US military during operational and exercise programmes.
The missiles will assist the frigates from the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) in developing and maintaining a reliable ship self-defence capability against current and future threats from anti-ship weapons.
Fitted with a new rocket motor, the ESSM is an upgrade of the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missile, developed by Raytheon with an international co-operative effort of ten Nato countries.
Integrated on various launchers and combat systems, the medium-range, semi-active homing missile is capable of making flight corrections through radar and S and X-band midcourse data uplinks.
ESSM is currently installed on US Navy's Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, Ticonderoga-class cruisers, aircraft carriers and large deck amphibious ships, as well as on various surface combatants of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Turkey.
Image: An Evolved Sea Sparrow missile (ESSM) aboard the guided missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85). Photo: US Navy photo by lt jg Joel Jackson.