The American subsidiary of MBDA has bought the Viper Strike weapons business and production line from Northrop Grumman. The Huntsville, Ala.-based activity was Northrop Grumman’s only business unit to offer a direct-fires weapon. This is MBDA’s first acquisition in the U.S., where the pan-European company wants to expand “through a combination of acquisitions, organic growth and partnerships with other prime contractors.”
Hawker Beechcraft completed a series of weapons delivery tests from its AT-6 light attack and reconnaissance aircraft, dropping eight laser-guided bombs as part of an ongoing operational assessment by the U.S. Ai
Diehl BGT Defence of Germany has partnered with Rafael of Israel to launch a new standoff weapon with dual-mode guidance called “Pilum.”
Missile developers in the U.S. are working on new weapons that combine the effects and capabilities of several previous munitions into single weapons, with the aim of significantly reducing the number of types held in the inventory and dramatically increasing the in-flight flexibility of aircraft and helicopters compared with current armament options.
Raytheon’s growing portfolio of precision munitions is to expand with the development of a new smart missile to arm small UAVs that are current unable to carry weapons. Initial flight tests have produced good results, and the small tactical missile (STM) is gearing up for more advanced testing in the coming weeks.
Two semi-official reports have criticized support arrangements for the UK Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon fleet. The UK National Audit Office (NAO) said that the four-nation collaborative contracts were complicated, and had resulted in “shortages of spares and long timescales for equipment repair.” The Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) referred to “a very complex supply chain that stretches all over Europe.”
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.
Lockheed Martin last month secured a $30 million contract from the U.S. Air Force for more “paveway” II laser-guided bomb (LGB) kits. Why the use of lower-case to describe this well known “smart” weapon, many thousands of which have been dropped from Western combat aircraft? It’s because LM and Raytheon compete as a dual-source suppliers of the LGB kits, and the two corporations are in a long-running legal dispute over terminology.
A new “smart” bomb employing three guidance modes is entering service with the UK Royal Air Force. The Raytheon Paveway IV is a 500-pound laser-guided weapon that can alternately be guided by GPS, with backup from an INS system if GPS is not available for any reason (such as jamming).
The Boeing joint direct attack munition (JDAM) is being released to Saudi Arabia, which could acquire as many of 900 of these tail kits that add “smart” GPS guidance to “dumb” bombs. The weapons are intended for the Royal Saudi Air Force fleet of F-15S Strike Eagles. Israel objected to the sale.