16 Oct. 1998


NATO's largest Cooperation Project marks 30 years

On Wednesday, 21 October, NATO will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the NATO Seasparrow Project. The NATO Seasparrow Missile System (NSSMS) is the largest running cooperative weapons development project in NATO's history.

Seasparrow is a surface-to-air missile system used to defend high value ships against cruise missiles.

"Since its inception in 1968, the Seasparrow Project has grown to become the Alliance's most successful cooperative armaments project. With 13 participating governments, Seasparrow has firmly established a premiere example of international cooperation. It thus played an important part in maintaining our collective defence," Secretary General Javier Solana wrote in a congratulatory message.

The NSSMS is installed on over 150 ships. Four nations (Denmark, Italy, Norway and the United States) inaugurated the programme in 1968. Later, they were joined by Belgium, Canada, Germany, Greece, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and Australia.

From the very beginning the goal was to help member nations reduce the costs and risks of weapons systems development.

The project is still being enhanced to increase its capability and to reduce costs. Ten of the 13 nations will participate in a project for upgrading the existing versions into the "Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile". It is intended to produce more than 4 000 missiles in the next 12 years.


On Tuesday, 20 October at 17:00 Rear Admiral Rodney P. Rempt, Chairman of the Seasparrow Project Steering Committee, will meet the press for a background briefing at NATO's headquarters. (Room Pearson).

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