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NATO successfully tests upgraded Sea Sparrow missile

The U.S. Navy announced the missile system was used to intercept a BQM-74E aerial target.

By Stephen Carlson
NATO successfully tests upgraded Sea Sparrow missile
Amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard fires a NATO Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missile to intercept a remote-controlled drone as part of Valiant Shield 2016. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Diana Quinlan/U.S. Navy

July 9 (UPI) -- The NATO Seasparrow Project Office has performed a successful flight test of the Evolved Seasparrow Missile Block 2, the U.S. Navy announced.

The ESSM intercepted a BQM-74E drone target on July 5. The test is the first to use Raytheon's new Block 2 active guidance seeker-head, Navy officials said.

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Raytheon received a $77 million contract in support of the program in May for further development and support of the weapon system as part of a transition to Block 2 production.

The ESSM surface-to-air missile is an international program to improve the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missile. It is designed to provide point defense against incoming high-speed anti-ship missiles.

The upgrade is expected to provide extended range of over 30 miles and improved targeting abilities, as it is a standard point-defense missile on ships across the world.

Developed by the U.S., the missile has been widely exported. It is currently being updated by Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United States.

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