BAE Systems’ 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. Over 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. BAE Systems will 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.
In RAN service, the ESSM will equip the ANZAC- and Adelaide-class frigates and the Hobart-class air warfare destroyer, and will also arm the Hunter class when they enter service.
BAE Systems’ 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.
What we do
During the engineering, manufacturing and development phase in the mid-to-late 1990s, BAE Systems designed and developed the missile’s thrust vector controller, aerodynamic control fins, dorsal fins, guidance section units, and guidance and control algorithms.