How Much Would it Cost to Add ESSM to NSC?

The US Naval Institute reports the Chilean Navy is planning to upgrade three of their British Built Frigates, with Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) replacing their existing Sea Wolf weapon systems. Since ESSM was planned as a possible upgrade for the National Security Cutter, I thought the information might be of interest.

The US is providing the equipment under a Foreign Military Sales contract valued at $140.1M that will include three sets of Tactical Length Mk41 VLS (vertical launch systems), 33 Evolved Seasparrow Missiles (ESSMs) Six Evolved Seasparrow Telemetry Missiles, “Ten (10) MK25 Quad Pack Canisters; Five (5) ESSM Shipping Containers; Five (5) MK-73 Continuous Wave Illumination Transmitters, One (1) Inertial Missile Initializer Power Supply (IMIPS); spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, technical assistance, installation and integration oversight support, logistics, program management, packaging and transportation.”

These figures include only the additional equipment. They do not include the yard work necessary to prepare the ship for installation and the installation of the equipment. Still I think this constitutes most of the cost of the upgrade of the three ships.

I would note that it is not clear how many VLS cells will be installed on each ship, but they are always installed in groups of eight. If we assumed eight cells on each ship, then each ship could theoretically support 32 missiles since they can be “quad packed,” that is four missiles can be placed in each cell. Chile is buying only 33 “war-shot” missiles and ten quad pack canisters. That is barely more than enough to fully arm one ship with eight cells, so it appears there will be some cells either left empty or filled with other types of weapons, which might include ASROC which also fit the tactical length Mk41 VLS.

6 thoughts on “How Much Would it Cost to Add ESSM to NSC?

  1. Chuck,
    It’s just an FMS request, not a sale, so they can bid confidently tor the Chilean contract. The Chileans haven’t run the contest yet. CAMM is the frontrunner for the contract as the T23’s in the UK are commencing their upgrades already with it. That’s a massive advantage over the other competitors. The ESSM option is just there to keep them honest.

    • Thanks, I know there has been a long relationship between Chile and the Royal Navy. Still this information is probably close enough for the purpose of getting a feel for how much it would cost to upgrade the Bertholf class ships.

  2. What about other VLS ESSM options like the deck mounted mk48 ESSM launchers as used on the Canadian Halifax Class Frigates and other ships? Not as versitile as mk41 launchers, but they would likely be far less expensive.

  3. The Mk56 VLS have repaced the Mk48s. I suggested these might be used if we needed to upgrade the OPC. I have not seen prices on these. If I do, I will add the info in a comment section. https://chuckhillscgblog.net/2016/09/29/what-might-a-wartime-opc-weapons-fit-look-like/

    The Mk48 and Mk56 are essentially limited to ESSM only. The Mk41s come in three different lengths and may also support cruise missiles, ASROC, and Standard missile in addition to ESSM.

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