Farnborough Air Show

Raytheon Doing Missile Business In Hard Times

 - July 11, 2012, 3:40 PM

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.”

The obvious answer is to look at system upgrades to enhance capabilities of existing systems, leveraging low-risk technologies that are cost-effective and quick to field. Typically that involves relatively mature technologies, those at TRL (technical readiness level) 6 or above.

Raytheon, for instance, has a couple of proposals to answer U.S. Navy long-range anti-ship requirements. The Tomahawk cruise missile could be fitted with an existing seeker and data link to give it anti-surface vessel capability, while an alternative would be to add a motor to the AGM-154C-1 JSOW glide weapon, improving high-altitude launch range from 70 miles to around 300 miles.

Such capability upgrade efforts become “more of an integration program than a development program,” said Schulte. Some development aspect remains, but it is considerably reduced compared with that typically associated with weapon programs in a free-spending environment. “We’re seeing more of a willingness to accept the 80-percent solution,” added Schulte.