The US Navy has taken delivery of the first Block 2 variant of Raytheon's Rolling Airframe Missile system, which is designed to bolster vessel security against incoming airborne threats.
Delivered as part of the company's 2012 low-rate, initial production contract, the third generation RAM defensive weapon is integrated with improved kinematics, an evolved radio frequency receiver and enhanced control system.
Raytheon Missile System Naval and Area Mission Defense product line vice-president Rick Nelson said: "As today's threats continue to evolve, RAM Block 2's enhanced features give an unfair advantage to naval warfighters across the globe.
"Along with demonstrating a long-standing international partnership, the RAM programme has a record of 91 consecutive months of contractual on-time deliveries, and continues its remarkable success rate of over 90% during flight tests."
In addition to protecting vessels from anti-ship cruise missiles, helicopter and airborne threats, and hostile surface craft, the missile's autonomous dual-mode, passive radio frequency and infrared guidance design allow the vessel to engage multiple threats at the same time.
RAM major programme manager USN captain John Keegan said: "It is a significant accomplishment for the RAM programme and the US Navy to accept our first Block 2 missiles on time and within budget.
"It is extremely challenging to successfully transition from a development programme to a production programme.
"Our success with Block 2 is testament to the outstanding cooperative effort across the entire international team and is indicative of the technical competence and rigour evident throughout the programme."
The supersonic, quick reaction and fire-and-forget missile has already been installed, or is intended for deployment, on more than 165 vessels for the navies of Egypt, Germany, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, the UAE and the US.
RAM is a cooperative programme between the governments of the US and Germany, with Raytheon and RAMSYS offering industry support.