Singapore Air Show

Raytheon mines Asia Pacific

 - December 6, 2006, 10:02 AM

The Asia/Pacific region is continuing to provide Raytheon with ample opportunity to demonstrate its versatility as a solutions provider across a wider range of capabilities spanning air traffic control, pilot training, missile defense systems and security. The U.S. group now has clients and partners spanning a vast triangle between India, Japan and Australia.

Raytheon’s immediate focus here at the Asian Aerospace show (A1110/1412) is looking to advance its bids in two major competitions for Singapore. The first is the country’s requirement for a new basic/primary trainer and the second is a joint bid with Singapore Technologies Aerospace to upgrade the air traffic control infrastructure at Changi International Airport.

According to Raytheon International president Torkel Patterson, governments across the Asia/Pacific region are increasing spending on homeland security, including activities such as maritime patrol and border control, by between 10 and 20 percent. By comparison, defense spending in these countries is now increasing annually by less than 5 percent–with significant variations between, for example, Japan at the low end and South Korea at the high end. This estimate does not include China where the known defense budget is growing by at least 10 percent.

“In the past we simply tried to sell what we made, but more and more we are selling complete solutions,” Patterson told Aviation International News. These solutions comprise training packages that include more than just the T6-B aircraft, as well as missile defense systems that make flexible use of Raytheon’s weapons and integrate them with command and control networks. It can also mean ATC upgrade linking new primary and secondary radars with ATC radar, as the company is now doing in more than 10 locations in China. And in the case of maritime patrol it can incorporate airborne surveillance radar connected to display and response functions.

In Taiwan, Raytheon has started work on a comprehensive early warning surveillance radar network to guard against the long-range missile threat. The company is also now competing to meet the requirement for new ATC radar at Taipei’s Chiang Kai-Shek Airport–a contract that has recently been put out to fresh bids.

Raytheon is also working on a new integrated air defense system for India. This will combine open architecture missile defenses with existing command and control sensors linked to displays.

Similarly, Japan originally purchased the company’s Patriot missiles purely as an air defense solution, but is now in a position to upgrade this product as part of a broader missile defense network. According to Patterson, the same flexibility can apply to its AMRAAM missile family in that surface-launched versions that are essentially the same as the air-launched weapons can now be applied in defense against terrorist threats, such as aircraft being flown into tall buildings.

Raytheon is now looking to broaden its network of Asia/Pacific partners, seeing this as a more likely route to market growth than creating more wholly owned subsidiaries like its Raytheon Australia division. Patterson said that software development and information technology are particularly promising activities for partnership in this region.

Patterson didn’t overtly join the chorus of criticism about U.S. export restrictions, which several of the U.S. defense industry’s leading foreign partners–in the context of the Joint Strike Fighter program–have said is serving as a serious obstacle to meaningful cooperation to the extent that it calls into question the viability of the programs themselves. Nonetheless, he conceded that “the process could be improved to make it more transparent and timely.” He also said that U.S. officials need to make a more meaningful distinction between companies from established U.S. ally states and those from elsewhere.