said. “In order to maintain capability against evolving
air threats, it will be necessary to update ESSM as pro-
posed in the ESSM block improvement initiative.”
While some nations clearly are committed to the
Block 2 upgrade, a formal memorandum of understand-
ing for engineering and manufacturing development is
required to begin the ESSM Block 2 program, and that is
still several years from being signed, Roesly said.
More than 4,000 ESSMs have been produced or are
on order, according to Raytheon officials.
“When the new Block 2 is introduced, the Block 1s
won’t go away. They’ll still need to be maintained, and
kept current with software upgrades.” said Mark
Brown, ESSM Block 2 program director at Raytheon.
Brown said one Block 2 study will assess the viability of returning Block 1 missiles to be converted into
Block 2 versions.
The ESSM has an 8-inch diameter guidance tube that
transitions to a 10-inch motor. The Block 2 will have a
10-inch guidance section, which will require a newly
designed warhead to fit. At least half of the Block 2 com-
ponents will be common to both ESSM variants. Under
the current plan, the Block 2 also will include design
margins for future kinematic improvements.
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