New Navy ship-defense missile destroys goal with ‘high tech ‘ active seeker’

File photo – An Evolved Sea Sparrow missile is launched from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. (U. S. Navy photo/Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick Green)

The U.S. Navy and many NATO partners are in the firing of a new, high-tech ship defense weapon that can identify, track, and attack maneuvering anti-ship missiles with an active seeker enabling the missile to change course in flight, service officials said.

The Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile Block II, or ESSM, is a new version of an existing Sea Sparrow weapons system that is currently protecting aircraft carriers, destroyers, cruisers, amphibious assault ships and other vessels against anti-ship missiles and other surface and in the air for a short distance to threats to ships.

The recent live-fire 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 entered the production, Naval Sea Systems Command spokesman Alan Baribeau told the Warrior Maven.

The ESSM Block 2 of the live-fire exercise marked the first use of the coat of arms of the active viewfinder system, the emerging technology that allows a rocket better flight guidance to the target by both receiving and actively sending electromagnetic signals, Navy officials said.

The ESSM is used radar technology to locate and then intercept a fast-approaching target during the flight; the use of what’s called a “lighting” is a big part of this capability, Raytheon developers told Warrior Maven in previous interviews.

The current ESSM missiles use of a so-called semi-active guidance system, meaning the missile itself can receive electromagnetic signals bounced off the target by an illuminator; the ESSM Block 2 “active” guidance includes illuminator technology built on the rocket itself that it both receive and send important electromagnetic signals, Navy and Raytheon officials explained.

Block 2 relieves the rocket from the requirement of having to use a lot of lighting guidance of the ship as a short-range self-defense, senior Navy officials have said.

A sailing illuminator is an RF signal that bounces off a target, and Raytheon weapons developers have explained. The antenna in the nose in the guidance section [missile] sees the reflected energy and then corrects to intercept that reflective energy, the Raytheon official added.

The emerging rocket has an ‘active’ front-end, which means that it can send a magnetic signal to track a maneuvering target, sometimes without a ship-based illuminator for guidance.

Also the missile is able to intercept threats that are close to the surface sea-skimming or diving in on a target from a greater height, Navy officials explained.

The so-called kinematic or opinions for improvements of the Block 2 missile to give an improved ability to counter maneuvering threats, Navy and Raytheon officials said.

ESSM Block 2 is jointly acquired by the united states and a number of allied countries, such as Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, austria and Turkey. All these countries signed an ESSM Block 2 of the MOU or Memorandum of Understanding, designed to solidify the development process for the missile system by means of the following phase. The weapon is slated to be fully operational on ships by 2020.

The joint mission, according to the text of US Dept. of State the ESSM Block 2 of the 2014 Memorandum of understanding with the participating nations together to design, develop, test, and evaluate and upgrade the ESSM that makes use of a dual mode X-band active and semi-active supervision-opportunities to make use of existing technology to the maximum extent possible.”

The Navy of the V. S. weapons developers work closely with NATO allies to ensure the weapon is properly operational in the alliance of countries planning for the deployment of the weapon.

The ESSM Block 2 weapon is a part of what Navy officials describe as a multi-layered security system, referring to an integrated suite of weapons, sensors, and interceptors designed to detect and destroy a wide range of incoming threats of various distances.

For example, ships have Aegis Radar and SM-3 missiles for long-range ballistic missile defense. Move to threats a litter closer, such as that in the atmosphere of the earth, such as anti-ship cruise missiles, enemy aircraft, drones and ships, the Navy has the SM-6, ESSM, and Rolling Airframe Missile and SeaRAM for something closer to threats.

When it comes to defend the ship from the closest threats, many ships have Close-In-Weapons System, or CIWS, which can burn of a 20-mm rapid-fire Phalanx gun in the direction fast approaching the surface and air threats.

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