The anti-aircraft missile type of future Pohjanmaa-class battleships has been updated. The new and improved Block 2 model of the ESSM missile replaces the previous Block 1 missile type in the vessels of the Squadron 2020 project.

At the start of the Squadron 2020 project, Raytheon’s Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM Block 1) was chosen as the Pohjanmaa-class surface-to-air missile and Lockheed Martin’s Mk41 launcher as the launcher. This combination is also a capital protection weapon used by the US Navy.

The self-protection of battleships consists of several sensor and weapon systems. Anti-aircraft missiles are the most far-reaching self-protection weapons for ships. Influencing threats approaching the ship must begin from tens of kilometers away. A medium-range air defense system can be used to destroy approaching threats from a sufficient distance even in open sea conditions.

Improved hit accuracy

The performance differences between the Block 2 missile and the older Block 1 missile are clear. The missile’s probability of hitting and effective interception distance have improved.

“With this acquisition, the air defense capability of the Pohjanmaa-class vessels will be among the best in the world. A modern surface-to-air missile as part of the Ostrobothnia-class self-protection will bring significant added value to the air defence of the ship class and naval defence, as well as to Finland’s air defence as a whole, estimates Commodore Mikko Laakkonen, Chief of Naval Planning.

The marketing authorization for the new ESSM Block 2 missile to Finland was granted in spring 2022, so the changes required by the new Block 2 missile, which operates on a different operating principle, will be included in the finalization of the Pohjanmaa-class combat system.