Surface Forces: December 26, 1999


ENHANCED RAM READY FOR THE FLEET: The enhanced US-German Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) has completed its operation and evaluation tests and is ready to enter service with the US and German fleets. The US expects to mount RAM missile launchers on virtually every surface warfare or amphibious warfare ship. RAM is designed to intercept and destroy incoming anti-ship missiles; in tests to date 23 of the 24 RAMs fired at realistic targets have hit them. The original Block-0 missile used a dual-mode radar/infrared guidance system. The infrared (heat-seeking) guidance unit had a narrow focus that could be used only for the terminal intercept phase. It was hard to use against crossing targets. The new Block-1 missile has a wide-scan imaging infrared system able to guide the missile from launch to impact. --Stephen V Cole


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