The government of Egypt had requested to buy up to 168 RIM‑116C RAM Block 2 tactical missiles, and RAM guided missile round pack tri-pack shipping and storage containers and other related elements of logistical and program support at an estimated cost of US$197 million.
U.S. feels that the proposed sale will improve the security of a major non-NATO ally country that continues to be an important strategic partner in the Middle East.
“The proposed sale will support the Egyptian Navy’s fast missile craft ships and provide significantly enhanced area defence capabilities over Egypt’s coastal areas and approaches to the Suez Canal,” according to a U.S. government official.
Egypt already operates the RAM Block 1A missiles, procured earlier from Raytheon Missiles & Defense.
The RAM guided missile weapon system is an advanced ship self-defence weapon and is designed to provide protection for ships of all sizes. According to Raytheon, RAM missiles are currently deployed on more than 165 ships in 11 countries, ranging from 500-ton fast attack craft to 95,000-ton aircraft carriers.
A supersonic, lightweight, quick-reaction, fire-and-forget weapon, the RAM system is designed to destroy anti-ship missiles. Requiring no additional direction upon launch, its passive radio frequency and infrared guidance design provide high firepower to engage multiple threats simultaneously. “The missile is continually improved to stay ahead of the ever-evolving threat of anti-ship missiles, helicopters, aircraft and surface craft,” according to Raytheon.
The Block 2 variant is the latest evolution in the development of the RAM missile, and has a larger rocket motor, advanced control section and an enhanced RF receiver capable of detecting the quietest of threat emitters. The improvements make the missile two and a half times more maneuverable, with one and a half times the effective intercept range. This provides the Block 2 variant with the capability to defeat highly stressing threats, increasing the survivability of the defended ship.
The MK 44 guided missile round pack and the MK 49 guided missile launching system, which hold 21 missiles, comprise the MK 31 guided missile weapon system. The system is designed to be easily integrated into many different ships. A variety of existing ship sensors can readily provide the target and pointing information required to engage the anti-ship threat.
The MK 44 missile is also used in the SeaRAM anti-ship missile defence system, replacing the M601A1 Gatling gun in the Phalanx close-in weapon system with an 11-round launcher. The Phalanx system’s sensor suite and internal combat management system reduces dependency on the ship’s combat system and enables a fast reaction to stressing anti-ship missiles. The RAM Block 2 missile has been successfully fired from a SeaRAM system.
The RAM weapon system is an international cooperative program between the United States and Germany. Development, production and maintenance costs are shared among Raytheon Missiles & Defense and the German companies LFK, DBD and RAMSYS. Licensed production of the RAM system's GMRP is also underway in Korea.
Reported by Jay Menon.
Image courtesy Raytheon.
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