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Rolling Airframe Missile


Rolling Airframe Missile

For the earlier weapon named Ram, see Ram (rocket).
RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile
 (LPD-18), 2013
Type Close-in weapons system
Place of origin United States/Germany
Service history
In service 1992-present
Used by See operators
Production history
Designer General Dynamics (now Raytheon) / Diehl BGT Defence
Designed 1976
Manufacturer General Dynamics (now Raytheon) / Diehl BGT Defence
Unit cost $440,000 (unit)
Produced 1985-present
Variants See variants
Weight 5,777 kg (12,736 lb) (launcher)
73.5 kilograms (162 lb 1 oz) (missile)
Length 2.79 m (9 ft 2 in) (missile)

Warhead blast fragmentation warhead
Warhead weight 11.3 kg (24 lb 15 oz)

Wingspan 434 mm (17.1 in)
Propellant solid
Speed In excess of Mach 2
three modes—passive radio frequency/infrared homing, infrared only, or infrared dual mode enabled (radio frequency and infrared homing)
Mk 144 Guided Missile Launcher (GML) of the Mk 49 Guided Missile Launching System (GMLS)

The RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) is a small, lightweight, infrared homing surface-to-air missile in use by the American, German, South Korean, Greek, Turkish, Saudi and Egyptian navies. It was intended originally and used primarily as a point-defense weapon against anti-ship cruise missiles. The missile is so-named because it rolls around its longitudinal axis to stabilize its flight path, much like a bullet fired from a rifled barrel. It is the only US Navy Missile to operate in this manner.[1]

The Rolling Airframe Missiles, together with the Mk 49 Guided Missile Launching System (GMLS) and support equipment, comprise the RAM Mk 31 Guided Missile Weapon System (GMWS). The Mk-144 Guided Missile Launcher (GML) unit weighs 5,777 kilograms (12,736 lb) and stores 21 missiles. The original weapon cannot employ its own sensors prior to firing so it must be integrated with a ship's combat system, which directs the launcher at targets. On American ships it is integrated with the AN/SWY-2 Ship Defense Surface Missile System (SDSMS) and Ship Self Defense System (SSDS) Mk 1 or Mk 2 based combat systems. SeaRAM, a weapon system model equipped with independent sensors, is undergoing testing.


The RIM-116 was developed by General Dynamics Pomona and Valley Systems divisions under a July 1976 agreement with Denmark and West Germany (the General Dynamics missile business was later acquired by Hughes Aircraft and is today part of Raytheon). Denmark dropped out of the program, but the USN joined in as the major partner. The Mk 49 launcher was evaluated on board the USS David R. Ray (DD-971) in the late 1980s.[1] The first 30 missiles were built in FY85 and they became operational on November 14, 1992, on board the USS Peleliu (LHA-5).


The RIM-116 is in service on several American and 30 German warships. All new German Navy warships will be equipped with the RAM, such as the new Braunschweig class corvettes, which will mount two RAM launchers per ship. The Greek Navy has equipped the new Super Vita class fast attack craft with the RAM. South Korea has signed license-production contracts for their navy's KDX-II, KDX-III, and Dokdo class amphibious assault ship.[2]

US Navy

The U.S. Navy plans to purchase a total of about 1,600 RAMs and 115 launchers to equip 74 ships. The missile is currently active aboard Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers, Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, Wasp-class amphibious assault ships, Tarawa-class amphibious assault ships, San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ships, Whidbey Island-class dock landing ships, Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ships, and Littoral combat ships (LCS).[3] There are plans in place to equip Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates with RAM launchers.[1]


Block 0

Also known as RIM-116A in US service, the original version called Block 0 whose design is based on that of the AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile, from which it took its rocket motor, fuze, and warhead. Block 0 missiles initially home in on active radiation emitted from a target (such as the radar of an incoming anti-ship missile). Then, the terminal guidance is done by an infrared seeker derived from that of the FIM-92 Stinger missile. In test firings, the Block 0 missiles achieved hit rates of over 95%.

Block 1

The Block 1 (RIM-116B) is an enhanced version of the RAM missile that adds an overall infrared-only guidance system that enables it to intercept missiles that are not emitting any radar signals. The Block 0's passive radar homing capabilities have been retained.

Block 2

The RAM Block 2 is an upgraded version of the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) ship self-defense missile system. The RAM Block 2 missile upgrade aim is to more effectively counter the emerging threat of more maneuverable anti-ship missiles. The US Navy awarded Raytheon Missile Systems a $105 million Block 2 RAM development contract on May 8, 2007, with the missile development expected to complete by December 2010. LRIP began in 2012.[4] 51 missiles were initially ordered. On October 22, 2012, the RAM Block 2 completed its third guided test vehicle flight, firing two missiles in a salvo and directly hitting the target. This verified the command and control capabilities of the system, upgraded kinematic performance, guidance system, and airframe capabilities. Raytheon is scheduled to deliver 25 Block 2 missiles during the integrated testing phase of the program.[5][6]

HAS Mode

In 1998, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the defense departments of Germany and the United States to improve the system, so that it could also engage so-called "HAS", Helicopter, Aircraft, and Surface targets. As developed, the HAS upgrade just required software modifications that can be applied to all Block 1 RAM missiles.

SeaRAM (weapon system)

The SeaRAM combines the radar and electro-optical system[1] of the Phalanx CIWS Mk-15 Block 1B with an 11-cell RAM launcher to produce an autonomous system - one which does not need any external information to engage threats. Like the Phalanx, SeaRAM can be fitted to any class of ship. This is still in trial stages and not currently being procured by the US Navy.[7]

In 2008 a SeaRAM system was delivered to be installed on USS Independence (LCS-2).[8]

General characteristics (Block 1)

  • Primary Function: Surface-to-Air Missile
  • Contractor: Raytheon, Diehl BGT Defence
  • Length: 2.79 m (9 ft 2 in)
  • Diameter: 127 mm (5.0 in)
  • Fin span: 434 mm (1 ft 5.1 in)
  • Speed: Mach 2.0+
  • Warhead: 11.3 kg (24.9 lb) blast fragmentation
  • Launch Weight: 73.5 kg (162 lb)
  • Range: 9 km (5.6 mi)
  • Guidance System: three modes—passive radio frequency/infrared homing, infrared only, or infrared dual mode enabled (radio frequency and infrared homing)
  • Unit Cost: $444,000
  • Date Deployed: 1992



  • retrieved 15th September 2010.

External links

  • RIM-116 RAM Rolling Airframe Missile -
  • RIM-116 RAM - Rolling Airframe Missile -
  • Raytheon (General Dynamics) RIM-116 RAM - Designation Systems
  • RAM on the Homepage of German developer and manufacturer Diehl BGT (in English)
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