Raytheon has secured a contract modification from the US Naval Sea Systems Command to procure materials and spares for Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles (ESSM) Block 2 low-rate initial production (LRIP).

Under the $190m contract, Raytheon will obtain remaining materials to support the production of the first three lots of ESSM Block 2.

The ESSM missile’s new guidance system will be equipped with a dual-mode active and semi-active radar.

Raytheon said in a statement: “This award follows the navy’s decision to shift from development to production on the enhanced intermediate-range, surface-to-air missile, placing the Block 2 variant on track for initial operating capability in 2020.”

The missile was developed under the ESSM programme and is intended to enhance anti-ship missile defence capabilities.

Raytheon will perform the majority of the work in Tucson, Arizona. The remaining portion of the work will be delivered in other countries including Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands, with completion expected by March 2023.

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The multinational ESSM development programme involves the US, and nine of the other member nations of the NATO SEASPARROW Consortium.

Apart from the US, the consortium includes Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey.

Raytheon Strategic and Naval Systems vice-president Dr Mitch Stevison said: “ESSM plays a critical role in protecting navy sailors worldwide and our international partners share our commitment to evolve this missile.”

The ESSM missile provides self-defence capabilities to navy aircraft carriers and large deck amphibious assault vessels.

The navy uses the missile as part of its area and ship self-defence capability for cruisers and destroyers.

In July last year, ESSM Block 2 missile successfully intercepted a BQM-74E aerial target during its first live-fire test.