NATO consortium launches Evolved Sea Sparrow upgrade
By EDWARD LUNDQUIST, Special Correspondent
“Each of our 12 member nations
are equal partners,” said U.S. Navy
Capt. Chris Fadler, the NSPO project
manager. “One nation — one vote.
This cooperative model has served
us well for more than 43 years.”
Currently 10 navies — and 18
international industrial partners —
share risk and production costs of
the ESSM, produced and main-
tained by Raytheon Missile Systems
in Tucson, Ariz., and their partners
in each of the participating nations.
Each nation’s work share is based
upon the number of missiles
planned for procurement, so work-share benefit is proportional to its
program investment. Those 10 nations are Australia,
Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands,
Norway, Spain, Turkey and the United States.
“The ESSM rocket motors come from Norway; the
control sections are built in Canada; the surface con-
trol sections are made in Australia; and Raytheon, as
the prime contractor, assembles the weapons at
Camden, Ark.,” said Ed Roesly, Raytheon’s ESSM pro-
gram manager. “We use the term partner instead of
subcontractor. A subcontractor performs tasks, but a
partner helps grow and invest in the business.”
“Each of these companies has an interest in their na-
tional defense, and are building a product that sup-
ports their national defense and their warfighters,” said
Thadeous Smith, Raytheon’s ESSM business develop-
The RIM-162 ESSM is based on the guidance section
of the RIM- 7 Sea Sparrow missile, with a new propulsion
stack for greater range and maneuverability. In addition to
its traditional role as a self-defense missile, ESSM offers
limited local area defense for many nations as well as a
surface-to-surface capability for engaging enemy small
boats and low-velocity air threats in the littoral regions.
The NATO Sea Sparrow Consortium has embarked on an upgrade program for the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile that allows
participants to share development costs and take advantage of
economies of scale.
■ The Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile continues to pace threats to
naval forces worldwide.
■ The new variant will address increasingly sophisticated threats
and multiple targets.
■ The program is a model of international cooperation among
The NATO Sea Sparrow Consortium is undertak- ing risk-reduction studies aimed at developing a new generation of the ship self-defense missile
for 10 of its 12 navies that use the Evolved Sea Sparrow
Missile (ESSM). A subset of these nations will work
together on the ESSM upgrade, also known as Block 2.
The consortium was founded in 1968 by several
NATO naval partners upon the cooperative principles
of sharing program costs and risk, with the goal of
equipping the NATO navies with a common weapon.
The NATO Sea Sparrow Surface Missile System
Consortium, led by the NATO Sea Sparrow Project
Office (NSPO), and the ESSM program comprise a
proven NATO model for international cooperative
weapon system development.
NSPO operates under the authority of several mem-oranda of understanding (MOUs), which define the
terms, conditions and principles of cooperation in
which the partners operate. Program direction is provided by the NATO Sea Sparrow Project Steering
Committee, currently chaired by U.S. Navy Rear Adm.
James D. Syring, program executive officer for
Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS).