The Australian government has granted first pass approval of Project SEA 1352 Phase 1 to upgrade the Navy’s stocks of Enhanced Sea-Sparrow (ESSM) missiles.
The upgrade will involve the adoption of the Block 2 version of the missile which provides greater guidance accuracy of the missiles against anti-ship missiles and other airborne targets. The new missiles will equip the upgraded Anzac class frigates and the new Hobart class air warfare destroyers.
“These arrangements will also offer significant opportunities for Australian industry to compete for work in the development, production, integration and through-life support of the upgraded Block 2 missiles,” Defence Minister Senator David Johnston said in a statement. “The Government expects to make a final decision on procurement of upgraded ESSMs around 2020. The Government is keen to ensure that every ESSM Block 2 missile that is eventually produced will provide work for Australian industry.”
Funding of some $300 million has been allocated to the project, and Australia will sign an MoU with the NATO Seasparrow Consortium to affirm Australia’s participation in the development of the missile upgrade. The consortium includes Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the US.