The US Navy has successfully secured initial operational capability (IOC) for the Block 2 rolling airframe missile (RAM) aboard the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24).
Claimed to be one of the most capable anti-ship cruise missile defence systems in the world, RAM is a 39-year US cooperative programme with the German Government that has yielded the American taxpayer more than $800m in cost avoidance.
The third generation RAM defensive weapon is integrated with improved kinematics, an evolved radio frequency receiver and enhanced control system, allowing the US force to counter advanced anti-ship cruise missile threats.
In addition, 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 US national deputy programme manager Steven Holsworth said: "Through cooperation, this programme has continuously met all challenges and has successfully produced more than 3000 RAM missiles (Block 0, 1A, 2) and 200 launchers.
"The on-time, on-cost delivery of the first Block 2 missiles embodies the best of the US and German design and production capabilities."
The test revealed that the Block 2 delivers enhanced kinematic performance in manoeuvrability and range as well as a more sophisticated radio frequency receiver, when compared to previous configurations.
These additional capabilities enable RAM to increase the battlespace and engage low probability of intercept threats at longer ranges.
RAM currently serves the US Navy's CVN, LCS, LHA, LHD, LSD and LPD 17 class warships and twenty-two of Germany's warships.
The US Navy and the German Government demonstrated the enhanced ship self-defence effectiveness of the Block 2 RAM during testing between May 2013 and March this year.
Image: The amphibious transport dock ship, USS Arlington (LPD 24), participates in training exercises. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by mass communication specialist Seaman Shelby M Tucker / Released.