Raytheon's improved ship-defense missile hits mark

The SeaRAM Anti-ship Missile Defense System combines a Raytheon-made weapon system and missile system.

Raytheon Missile Systems

The Navy has completed a series of test shots with a Raytheon ship-defense system, knocking down several targets in scenarios mimicking advanced threats to ships, the company said.

The SeaRAM Anti-ship Missile Defense System is a hybrid of two systems made by Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems — the Phalanx Block 1B Close-In Weapon System and the Rolling Airframe Missile ship-defense system.

The SeaRAM uses the Phalanx’s automated, radar-guided fire control system and replaces its rapid-fire, 20-millimeter cannon with an 11-round Rolling Airframe Missile launcher.

The two test shots, conducted by the Navy’s Self Defense Test Ship off the coast of Southern California, included one in which two supersonic missiles were inbound simultaneously, “flying in complex, evasive maneuvers,” Raytheon said.

In both flights, the SeaRAM system detected and tracked and engaged the threats, and fired advanced Rolling Airframe Missile Block 2 guided missiles that intercepted the targets, the company said.

Rick Nelson, vice president of Raytheon’s naval and area mission defense product line, said in a news release the test showed the SeaRAM system has reached a new level of sophistication, “intercepting targets under high-stress conditions.”

The SeaRAM system is fitted on three of the Navy’s new Independence-class littoral combat ships with plans to mount the system on similar ships as they are fitted out.

In March, the Navy successfully test-fired the SeaRAM system from the USS Porter, the first of four U.S. guided missile destroyers based in Spain slated to get the SeaRAM.

Phalanx is installed on all U.S. Navy surface combatant ship classes and on those of 24 allied nations, Raytheon says. A land-based version has been deployed in Iraq and used to counter mortar shells and rockets.

The RAM system is fielded by the U.S. and development partner Germany, as well as Japan, Greece, Turkey, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The RAM Block 2 missile, with advanced range and maneuverability, reached initial operating capability in May 2015.