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.”
Raytheon has been awarded a contract to provide four podded dismount detection radar (DDR) systems to the U.S. Air Force. The SAR/GMTI (synthetic aperture radar/ground moving target indicator) sensors are for carriage by General Atomics MQ-9 Block 5 Reaper UAVs, and the new radars will provide operators with the ability to find and track individuals and vehicles. The Block 5 is the forthcoming upgraded version of the Reaper.
Last month Raytheon and Kongsberg conducted the first firing of the Evolved Sea Sparrow missile (ESSM) from the NASAMS (Norwegian advanced surface-to-air missile system). The June 24 firing at Norway’s Andøya Rocket Range not only validated the ability to fire the ESSM with the system, but also the ability to integrate an older-generation Hawk high-power illuminator into the system.
Raytheon has been awarded a major contract for the MTS-B multi-spectral targeting system. The $191 million contract was awarded by the U.S. Air Force in April and covers the supply of 149 high-definition MTS-B turrets for Reaper unmanned air vehicles, plus support equipment and spares. Deliveries are due to start in the first quarter of next year, and will run for around two years.
In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a “phased adaptive approach” (PAA) for the missile defense of Europe to be deployed in four phases with a mix of sea- and land-based assets. A critical element is the Raytheon Standard Missile 3 interceptor, which in its Block 1A configuration forms the basis of PAA Phase I capability, which has now been implemented.
Raytheon says tapping into Asia’s urgent need to update its air traffic management (ATM) infrastructure to handle rapid growth in air traffic is one of its key priorities. The company recently responded to a request for proposals from Vietnam and Thailand, and opportunities are surfacing in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, said the U.S. company.
Morocco and the U.S. government have signed a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) to purchase Raytheon’s AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder infrared guided air-to-air missile for the country’s Lockheed Martin F-16s. This makes Morocco the fourth country to purchase the Block II and the eleventh to purchase AIM-9X, although the quantity is undisclosed.
Absent from Lockheed Martin’s IS&GS Dragon line-up is the most famous LM product to carry that name. True, the U-2 Dragon Lady is the responsibility of a different LM division–Aeronautics–but with the evergreen spyplane about to enjoy a new lease on life, it seems strange that LM has done little to promote what is arguably the most capable multi-intelligence aircraft ever built.
The pressure on government spending is forcing even the defense industrial giants to adapt. One example is Lockheed Martin’s IS&GS division, which is promoting a supermarket-style choice of intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) products and services, with trademarked branding to match.
In April, Lockheed Martin celebrated the delivery of its 4,500th F-16 Fighting Falcon, attesting to the longevity of the fourth generation, multirole fighter. Now the company is working to extend that legacy with the U.S. Air Force and to stretch the production of F-16 export versions.