US and German Governments have provided $34m (€31m) to Raytheon, an RTX subsidiary, in a US Department of Defense (DoD) contract modification on 13 December 2023.

The original equipment manufacturer will provide engineering support services to US and German Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAMs), ensuring these self-defence systems continue to protect their warships at sea.

RAM was originally a joint development project between the US and Germany when the system debuted in 1999. RAMs are featured on US amphibious assault ships, landing platform dock ships, carriers, dock landing ships and littoral combat ships as well as Germany’s K130 corvettes, F123 to F126 frigates – the steel for the latest frigates has recently been cut.

The German Government has put forward $8.5m in foreign military sales (FMS) funds, or 77% of the overall cost, while various US Naval procurement funds since 2021 make up nearly 18% of the bill, while less than 6% of the cost comes from other FMS funds.

Continual maintenance will ensure the 20-year-old missile defence system – now in the form of the latest Block 2 configuration – eliminates the growing range of anti-ship threats in the defence market.

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which began in February 2022, has pushed the global defence industry into a period of indefinite production across all domains. Even the leading intelligence consultancy, GlobalData, tells us that after strategic ground attack missiles, Russia’s missile market size is dominated by its anti-ship missiles, which the company says will be worth more than $8bn over the next decade, accruing a compound annual growth rate of 5%.

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The RIM-116 RAM is fully operational in the US, German and allied navies (including Egypt, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates) with over 5,000 missiles produced throughout the life of the programme.

RAM is deployed worldwide via the Mark 49 RAM Guided Missile Launching System (GMLS) and the Mark 15 Mod. 32 SeaRAM Close-In Weapon System on more than 100 ships ranging from fast patrol boats to aircraft carriers.

The block 2 missile was first deployed in May 2015. It has a length of 9.45 feet, a wingspan of 32.17 centimetres (cm), a diameter of 15.87cm and weighs 194.4 pounds (Ib). Its warhead has an explosive weight of 7.9Ib.

Recently, in October 2023, the DoD approved an FMS of 63 RAM Block 2Bs to Japan in a deal worth $74.6m. According to the Defense Security Co-operation Agency, the deal serves the US’ geopolitical objective to enhance the security of its strategic ally in the highly contested Indo-Pacific region.