RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile

The RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) is a small, lightweight, infrared homing surface-to-air missile in use by the American, German, Japanese, Greek, Turkish, South Korean, 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.

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.

RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile
Class Missile
Type Surface to Surface
Manufacturer General Dynamics
Origin United States of America
Country Name Origin Year
Germany 1992
United States of America 1992
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Egypt View
Germany 1992 View
Greece View
Japan View
Saudi Arabia View
South Korea View
Turkey (Ottoman Empire) View
United Arab Emirates View
United States of America 1992 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
General Dynamics 1985 View
Raytheon 1985 View
Diehl BGT Defence 1985 View

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 destroyer USS David R. Ray in the late 1980s. The first 30 missiles were built in FY85 and they became operational on 14 November 1992, on board USS Peleliu.

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.

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 ship, Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ships, and littoral combat ships (LCS).

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 US$998,000 (FY2014)
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)

End notes