NATO Seasparrow Tests ESSM Block 2 Interceptor

According to a U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command press release on July 5, “The NATO Seasparrow Project Office recently conducted a successful flight test of the Evolved Seasparrow Missile […] Block 2 [ESSM Blk 2], successfully intercepting a BQM-74E aerial target”. The July 5 test was the first demonstration of the missile’s active guidance seeker-head in a live fire exercise. The U.S. Navy release also noted that “[t]his test follows the successful completion of two Controlled Test Vehicle flight tests in June 2017 and is the first in a series of live fire tests” before ESSM Blk 2 reaches operational status in 2020. ESSM Blk 2’s active guidance is an improvement over the in-service ESSM’s midcourse data uplink and radar navigation, reducing the missile’s reliance on its firing ship. ESSM has a range of 50 km.