The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) last week notified Congress of another massive sale to Gulf countries by American companies. Saudi Arabia is buying air-launched weapons worth $6.8 billion for its new F-15SA Strike Eagles; the UAE is buying air-launched weapons worth $4 billion for its F-16s. The main U.S. contractors to benefit are Boeing (providing SLAM-ER and Harpoon missiles and small-diameter bombs) and Raytheon (providing JSOW missiles and Paveway “smart” bombs).
AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon
In the current fiscal environment in which big-ticket missile programs have been shelved, restructured or cancelled altogether, Raytheon is looking at innovative ways to add capabilities to existing systems. “You’ve got to see what you can do with what you’ve got,” explained Harry Schulte, Raytheon’s v-p Air Warfare Systems. “The money’s not going to be there for the big programs, but the enemy doesn’t care about that, and we still need to address the shortfalls.”
Following a successful test last fall, Raytheon’s fifth-generation AIM-9X–the principal short-range air-to-air missile employed by U.S. forces–could become a part of the air-to-surface inventory for employment against both land and sea targets.
Here at the Singapore Airshow, Raytheon Missile Systems (Stand U01) is showcasing its Fish Hawk standoff antisubmarine torpedo. While the weapon has been under development for some time, this is its inaugural promotion at a major international exhibition, highlighting the interest in it from the Asia-Pacific region.
Just as those responsible for fighting wars now talk in terms of “effects”–as opposed to material assets–when discussing battle management and the equipment available to them, so defense contractors increasingly talk about “solutions” rather than products.
After a slow start, the merits of Raytheon’s Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) are becoming apparent. In U.S. service since 1997, the cost of the JSOW has been reduced and Greece, Turkey and Poland have recently chosen it for their F-16s, and Singapore for its F-15s. It is a precision weapon, winged but unpowered, that can glide over 60 nm to reach its target after launch from a combat aircraft. It can carry three different payloads.