RIM-7 Sea Sparrow Missile - Missile Review

The RIM-7 Sea Sparrow is a radar-guided, surface-to-air missile and was initially developed based on the AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missile used by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. In this incarnation, the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow was a very simple weapon system guided by a manually pointed radar illuminator and was categorized as a lightweight “point-defense” weapon that could be swiftly installed to existing ships, typically replacing existing gun-based anti-aircraft systems.

However, after its introduction in early 1970s, the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow underwent extensive improvement, which was aimed at perfecting anti-ship missile defense capabilities through continued technology improvement. It then became an automated weapon system similar to other U.S. Navy missiles such as the RIM-2 Terrier. After that, the air-to-air mission was taken over by AIM-120 AMRAAM, while the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow received a series of upgrades aimed solely at the naval duty. It currently looks like the AIM-7 in general form, except it is now larger, faster, and features a new seeker as well as a launch system capable of vertical launch from modern warships.

The RIM-7 Missile has been used by the U.S. Navy on three ship classes (CVN, LHA, and LHD) and remains as a vital component of a multi-layered air defense system, offering a short-range component that is particularly effective against sea-skimming missiles.

RIM-7 Sea Sparrow Missile - Missile Review

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