Australian Government press release
The Australian Government is investing more than $2 billion to deliver a more advanced self-defence capability for our Royal Australian Navy (RAN), which will provide our Australian Defence Force with the most advanced technology to protect against anti-ship missile threats.
The purchase of the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 capability for our ADF, is a key pillar in shaping, deterring and if necessary, responding to protect Australia’s interests in a strategically complex environment.
The ESSM Block 2 is a highly advanced surface to air missile, capable of defeating modern advanced air and missile threats. The ESSM Block 2 incorporates an advanced active radar missile seeker and has a range in excess of 50km.
The first tranche of these weapons have already arrived in Australia for initial integration and testing purposes. The ESSM Block 2 will be embarked in the RAN’s Surface Combatant Force, including the Anzac Class frigates and Hobart Class destroyers.
This investment will directly support Australian jobs through Defence industry supplying components for ESSM Block 2 production internationally.
Suppliers to ESSM Block 2 production include BAE Systems Australia, L3Harris Technologies, and Varley Group, with production and supporting roles based in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Newcastle.
Australian industry will continue to support increasing rates of missile production, and further opportunities for Australian industry involvement are being pursued in missile component manufacture and integration.
Delivery of the ESSM Block 2 is facilitated by Australia’s participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Sea Sparrow Consortium.
Australia’s participation in the Consortium provides Navy with access to important technical information, strengthens the relationship with NATO and shares the cost associated with developing a very effective capability for defeating anti-ship missiles.
As Consortium partners, Defence and Australian industry have completed a significant amount of work to develop the ESSM Block 2 to date.
Naval News comments:
ESSM is a medium-range, all-weather, semi-active radar-guided missile used in surface-to-air and surface-to-surface roles. ESSM represents more than four decades of technology and design improvements by a 43-year international cooperative partnership composed of 12 nations, 10 of which employ ESSM (and FMS to 3 countries: Japan, UAE and Thailand).
As a tail-controlled missile, ESSM uses enhancements to its guidance system to take advantage of improved seeker sensitivity, increased propulsion and greater weapon accuracy. These features enable ESSM to arrive at the intercept point with more endgame speed and agility to counter the threat.
ESSM’s capability bridges the gap between close-in air defense and local area defense systems. Its kinematics result in reduced time to target. It is a Multi-mission weapon system is effective against high-speed or low-velocity threats.
According to open sources, the RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) has a range of about 27 nautical miles (50 Km) and a top speed of Mach 4+.
Unlike Block 1, Block 2’s active radar homing seeker will support terminal engagement without the launch ship’s target illumination radars. The improved ESSM Block 2 was fielded by the US Navy from 2020.