Raytheon [RTN] and its German industry partner, RAMSYS, yesterday said they completed missile upgrades and integration testing as part of the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block 2 program.

The partnership completed five control test vehicle flights and met all upgrade requirements for Block 2, the companies said. The program will begin guided flight tests later this year and is expected to enter low-rate production in late 2012.

RAM Block 2 features enhanced kinematics, an evolved radio frequency receiver, a new rocket motor and an upgraded autopilot system, the company said at DSEi in London. These improvements enable the missile to outpace evolving threats.

"The next-generation RAM will provide the naval warfighter with an improved ship defense capability," said Rick Nelson, vice president of Naval Weapon Systems for Raytheon Missile Systems.

RAM is a supersonic, lightweight, quick reaction, fire-and-forget missile providing defense against anti-ship cruise missiles, helicopter and airborne threats, and hostile surface craft.

For more than 35 years, the United States and Germany have worked together developing and maintaining RAM. Development, production work and funding are shared between Raytheon and RAMSYS.