June 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has completed a series of guided flight tests for the RAM Block 2A short-range, surface-to-air missile, according to its manufacturer, Raytheon.
Testing of the rolling airframe missile took place at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, Calif., and from the Navy's self-defense test ship off the coast of Southern California, the company said in a news release Wednesday. The date of the tests wasn't disclosed.
Raytheon expects to deliver the missile to the Navy by the end of 2019.
Raytheon and the German company RAMSYS share development, production and maintenance costs.
The Block 2 variant is the latest evolution in the development of the RAM missile, which Raytheon describes as the "world's most modern ship self-defense weapon."
It includes a larger rocket motor, advanced control section and an enhanced RF receiver capable of detecting the quietest of threat emitters. The new software upgrade enhances guidance and the missile's capability to defeat threats. Raytheon also says the upgraded missiles are 2.5 times more maneuverable and has 1.5 times the effective intercept range.
The Rolling Airframe Missiles, together with the MK 49 Guided Missile Launching System and MK 44 guided missile round pack, make up the RAM MK 31 Guided Missile Weapon System.
The Navy in 2017 awarded Raytheon Missile Systems a $105 million development contract for the Block 2. It was part of a $145.4 million contract for production and enhancement of its Rolling Airframe Missile program.
The RAM missile is deployed in 11 countries on more than 165 ships, ranging from 500-ton fast attack craft to 95,000-ton aircraft carriers.
Last year, Raytheon delivered a RAM launcher to the Mexican Navy, the first RAM product in use by a Latin American country.