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ESSM Block 1 is part of a 10-nation international cooperative development program between the U.S., NATO partner nations and Australia and is a kinematic upgrade to the RIM-7P SEASPARROW Missile that leverages U.S. guidance technology. ESSM is a medium-range, semi-active homing missile that makes flight corrections via radar and midcourse data uplinks. The missile provides reliable ship self-defense capability against agile, high-speed, low-altitude anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), low velocity air threats (LVATs), such as helicopters, and high-speed, maneuverable surface threats. ESSM is integrated with a variety of U.S. and international launchers and combat systems across the Consortium navies and several Foreign Military Sales customer nations.

ESSM has 10-inch diameter control and rocket motor sections that tapper to an 8-inch diameter guidance section and utilizes a radome-protected antenna for semi-active homing. The high-thrust, solid-propellant rocket motor provides high maneuverability with tail control and incorporates a Thrust Vector Controller (TVC).

ESSM's effective tracking performance and agile kinematics result from S- and X-band midcourse uplinks, high average velocity and tail control. Increased firepower and lethality are realized with the MK 25 quad pack canister used for MK 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS)-equipped ships and an improved warhead.

The follow-on to ESSM Block 1, the ESSM Block 2, began development in 2014. The Block 2 utilizes the same propulsion section and increases the diameter of the guidance section to 10-inches. The new guidance section will utilize a dual seeker head that will employ semi-active and active guidance. The ESSM Block 2 is scheduled for IOC in 2020.
ESSM is a cooperative effort among 10 of 12 NATO SEASPARROW Consortium nations governed by a series of Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and multinational work share arrangements. In addition to the United States, ESSM member nations include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Turkey.

The first production ESSM was delivered in late 2002 to the U.S. Navy by Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS) and has been in full operational use in the U.S. since 2004. ESSM is fired from the following U.S., NATO and other launcher systems: MK 29 trainable launcher, MK 41 VLS, MK 57 VLS, MK 48 Guided Missile VLS, and the MK 56 Dual Pack ESSM Launching System. ESSM also interfaces with a variety of combat systems, including the Aegis Weapon System, MK 57 NATO SEASPARROW Missile System (NSSMS), Ship Self-Defense System (SSDS), Total Ship Computing Environment, ANZAC, Dutch Configuration, FLEXFIRE, and APAR combat systems.
U.S. Navy
Point Of Contact
Office of Corporate Communication
Naval Sea Systems Command
Wahington, D.C. 20376
General Characteristics
Primary Function: Surface-To-Air and Surface-To-Surface radar-guided missile.
Contractor: Raytheon Missile Systems, Tuscson, Arizona
ESSM users: (Consortium Members): Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey, United States.
Other ESSM users: (FMS): Japan, United Arab Emirates, Thailand.
Date Deployed: 2004
Unit Cost: $787K - $972K depending on configuration
Propulsion: NAMMO-Raufoss, Alliant
Length: 12 feet
Diameter: ESSM: 8 inches Guidance/10 inches Control/RM
Weight: 622 pounds
Speed: Classified
Range: Classified
Guidance System: Semi-active on continuous wave or interrupted continuous wave illumination.
Platforms: U.S. Navy Surface Platforms: CVN, LHA, LHD, DDG 51, CG47, DDG 1000 classes.
Warhead: Annular blast fragmentation warhead, 90 pounds.
Last Update: 17 January 2019