The U.S. Navy has begun taking deliveries of RAM Block II, the newest variant of Raytheon’s ship-launched rolling-airframe missile (RAM). This enhanced point-defense surface-to-air missile provides a 50-percent increase in effective intercept range combined with new guidance and maneuvering capabilities to counter more advanced weapons including antiship missiles using low probability of intercept radar. Heavier and with a larger rocket motor than the current Block I variant of the RAM, Block II missiles are also fitted with four versus two canards to provide improved kinematics. Initially developed jointly by the United States and Germany, the weapon has been in service with the two countries since the early 1990s and is also operated by Egypt, Greece, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. Block 1A and newer RAM variants are able engage antiship cruise missiles, helicopters, aircraft, and surface craft.
By Eric Wertheim