Thailand to get Evolved Sea Sparrows

Jan. 14, 2013 at 3:26 PM
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CRYSTAL CITY, Va., Jan. 14 (UPI) -- The Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile by Raytheon of the United States is to be used by the Royal Thai Navy to protect ships from supersonic anti-ship missiles.

Raytheon said Thai officials recently signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance with the U.S. government for the system, making it the 13th country to use ESSM.

ESSM is based on the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow, but with increased rocket engine power and enhanced aerodynamics. It is 12 feet long, 10 inches wide and features an 86 pound blast-fragmentation warhead. It's operational range is reportedly about 27 nautical miles.

Thailand will purchase nine of the missile systems for integration aboard two frigates. They will be fired from an MK 41 eight-cell vertical launch system using an MK 25 Quad Pack canister.

"This agreement brings the enhanced kinematics of the ESSM to the Royal Thai Navy's inventory and provides unsurpassed defense against a new generation of threats," said Rick Nelson, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems' Naval and Area Mission Defense product line. "The addition of the ESSM will provide the Royal Thai Navy an unmatched ship self-defense capability, as well as allowing the fleet to take advantage of future spiral evolutions of the missile."

The monetary value of the deal was not disclosed.

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