Defence Minister Peter Dutton has confirmed the purchase of Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 capability for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
According to a press release from the Minister's office, the first tranche of these weapons have already arrived in Australia for initial integration and testing purposes.
The ESSM Block 2 is a highly advanced surface to air missile, capable of defeating modern advanced air and missile threats. The ESSM Block 2 incorporates an advanced active radar missile seeker and has a range in excess of 50 kilometres.
The ESSM Block 2 will be embarked in the RAN’s Surface Combatant Force, including the Anzac Class frigates and Hobart Class destroyers.
Suppliers to ESSM Block 2 production include BAE Systems Australia, L3 Harris, and G H Varley, with production and supporting roles based in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Newcastle.
According to Minister Dutton, Australian industry will continue to support increasing rates of missile production, and further opportunities for Australian industry involvement are being pursued in missile component manufacture and integration.
The purchase forms part of a $2 billion investment from the government to deliver a more advanced self-defence capability for the RAN.
Minister Dutton said delivery of the ESSM Block 2 is facilitated by Australia’s participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Sea Sparrow Consortium.
"Australia’s participation in the Consortium provides Navy with access to important technical information, strengthens the relationship with NATO and shares the cost associated with developing a very effective capability for defeating anti-ship missiles," the Minister's release said.
"As Consortium partners, Defence and Australian industry have completed a significant amount of work to develop the ESSM Block 2 to date."