The U.S. Navy has tested an updated version of a surface-to-air missile system Raytheon developed under NATO’s Seasparrow program.
Raytheon said Sunday its Block 2 Evolved Seasparrow Missile worked to neutralize an aerial target after the service branch launched the weapon from a self-defense test ship during the guided flight test that occurred off the coast of southern California.
The company plans to manufacture more than 2,500 ESSM Block 2 missiles and expects the system to reach an initial operating capability status by 2020.
Todd Callahan, vice president of Raytheon’s naval and area mission defense unit, said the system’s updated guidance technology will work to help navies counter various threats.
NATO leads a consortium of ESSM program members that include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and U.S.
The Navy uses the original system as a self-defense missile onboard cruisers, destroyers, aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships.
ESSM is currently deployed on approximately 200 naval assets globally.