ESSM Block 2 passes first live fire test


The upgraded Block 2 Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM) recently intercepted a BQM-74E aerial target in a successful flight test, the US Navy announced on July 5.

Illustration: A RIM-162D Sea Sparrow missile is launched from a NATO Sea Sparrow Surface Missile System by aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). Photo: US Navy

This was the first ESSM flight test to utilize the new Block 2 active guidance seeker-head. ESSM Block 2 will employ both semi-active and active guidance to meet current and anticipated future threats.

The test follows the successful completion of two controlled test vehicle flight tests in June 2017 and is the first in a series of live fire tests that will lead to the ESSM Block 2 missile entering production.

“This flight test is critical to demonstrating the technology for the ESSM Block 2,” said Capt. Bruce Schuette, project manager for the NATO Seasparrow Project. “I am very proud of the entire NATO Seasparrow Project Team, from our industry partners to our field activities and test facilities, for all the extensive work that went into making this event a success.”

The NATO Seasparrow Project is an international consortium of 12 nations consisting of Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United States.

The 12 member nations are partners in engineering, development, production and sustainment of the missiles and supporting equipment. Established in 1968, the NATO Seasparrow Project is the longest running, cooperative weapons program in NATO and is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year.