June 19, 2015:
In May 2015 a new version (Block 2) of the RIM-116 RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) anti-missile missile was introduced. This model can deal with faster anti-ship missiles and the growing use of electronic countermeasures by anti-ship missiles. Block 2 is more maneuverable and because of new software it is also “smarter.”
RAM has been in service since 1992 and is a joint German-American development that began in the late 1970s. RAM is used on ships and so far over 200 launchers and over 3,000 missiles have been produced. Nearly 500 test firing have been carried out, both for training and quality control. Many of the test firings are against high-speed target drones (a type of UAV). In the U.S. Navy RAM is used on nuclear carriers, amphibious carriers and the LCS type frigates. Germany has LCS installed on 22 warships, most of them frigates and destroyers. Seven other nations use RAM.
RAM missiles are 127mm in diameter, three meters (9.3 feet) long, and weigh 73.6 kg (162 pounds) each. The terminal guidance system is heat seeking. The 11.3 kg (25 pound) warhead is of the fragmentation type. Max range is nine kilometers. Basically, RAM uses the rocket motor and warhead from the Sidewinder air-to-air missile and the guidance system from the Stinger shoulder fired anti-aircraft missile. The 11 or 21 cell RAM launchers provide flexibility. The RAM missiles cost about a million dollars each and are shipped in a sealed container that is slid into the launcher. Most RAM missiles are fired from a 5.8 ton launcher containing 21 missiles. Since the 1990s the RAM software was upgraded to enable it to attack aircraft, helicopters and cruise missiles.
In 2011 China introduced what appears to be a RAM clone. The HQ-10 is a short-range anti-missile system for its ships. Two models of the HQ-10 have been seen on so far, one with 21 missile launch tubes and one with 18. The HQ-10 missile have a guidance system with a microwave radar and a heat seeker. This makes these missile more difficult to jam. HQ-10 was not officially announced until 2014.