Finland selects ESSM Block 2 air defence missiles for Pohjanmaa-class ships

By Defence Industry Europe

The Finnish Navy has announced a significant upgrade to the air defence missile system on its upcoming Pohjanmaa-class combat ships. The new and improved Block 2 variant of the Raytheon Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) will replace the previous Block 1 missiles on the Squadron 2020 project combat ships.


As the Squadron 2020 project commenced, the Finnish Navy had selected Raytheon’s Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM Block 1) as the air defence missile and Lockheed Martin’s Mk41 launcher as the launch platform. This combination is also used by the U.S. Navy as its principal point defence weapon.

The self-defence capabilities of these combat ships consist of a range of sensor and weapon systems. Air defence missiles serve as the ships’ long-range self-defence weapons, ensuring threats are engaged from afar, often tens of kilometers away. Medium-range air defence systems are capable of neutralizing approaching threats from a sufficient distance, even in open sea conditions.



The performance differences between the Block 2 missile and its older Block 1 counterpart are notable. The Block 2 missile offers enhanced hit probability and increased effective engagement range.

Finland secured approval for the sale of the new ESSM Block 2 missile in the spring of 2022, ensuring that the required changes to accommodate the Block 2 missile’s different operational principles will be incorporated into the finalization of the Pohjanmaa-class combat system.



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