Electronics Technician guides an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) into HMAS Perth's Vertical Launch System.
It was designed and manufactured by a twelve-nation industrial collaboration led by Raytheon Missile Systems (US), with BAE Systems as the lead Australian participant. Our capabilities were crucial to the development of the original Block 1 ESSM, which entered production in 2000.
The goal of the ESSM program was to enhance the kinematic capabilities (speed and maneuverability) of the NATO SeaSparrow missile from which it was derived. This entailed the development of a larger rocket motor and the introduction of a thrust vector controller and aerodynamic control fins.
More than 3,000 missiles have been delivered to the international NATO SeaSparrow Consortium and third-party nations.
Development of the Block 2 ESSM commenced in 2015, with development focused on a new dual-mode guidance section and enhanced warhead. We continue manufacturing legacy hardware from the Block 1 missile, and add additional components, including the fuselage, internal structures, the telemetry data transmission set and the new pitchover autopilot system.
The ESSM has equipped the Royal Australian Navy's Anzac- and Adelaide-class frigates and the Hobart-class air warfare destroyer. It will also arm the Hunter class when they enter service.

Core capabilities

Our capability in flight vehicle guidance, navigation and control, and thrust vector technology has been significantly expanded through our participation in the ESSM program.
We have developed a generation of engineers with experience in every dimension of advanced guided weapon engineering from concept design and operational analysis, through development, prototyping, production, test and integration, flight trials, and quality assurance.
During the engineering, manufacturing and development phase in the mid-to-late 1990s, we designed and developed the missile’s thrust vector controller, aerodynamic control fins, dorsal fins, guidance section units, and guidance and control algorithms.
Images: Department of Defence
  • Top: HMAS Brisbane launches an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile
  • Right/below: An electronics technician guides an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile into HMAS Perth's Vertical Launch System.