Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control division (MFC) is a major supplier of defense equipment to the Middle East and that business is about to arise to a new level thanks to an anticipated sale of its Terminal High-Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) to Qatar.
The U.S. is “gently prompting” the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to integrate their air- and missile-defense systems, according to American strategic defense consultant Ian Brzezinski.
The Middle East is rich with all sorts of Russian-made anti-aircraft systems. Most of them were delivered to the Arab countries opposing Israel and, in the time of the Soviet Union, to other clients on a political pretext.
Late last month Raytheon announced that it had received contracts worth $71.7 million to continue upgrading its Patriot air and missile defense system for the U.S. Army. The latest contracts, which add a modernized radar digital processor (RDP) and modern man station (MMS), highlight the continuous development that is being applied to the Patriot to keep it at the forefront of the air defense arena. The Patriot system has now conducted 2,500 search and track tests, and around 1,000 flight tests.
“Imported avionics” are being installed into Russian air force aircraft in increasing quantities, “to ensure that our airframers satisfy our demanding requirements for their new and upgraded products,” said Russian air force commander Lt. Gen. Victor Bondarev at last week’s Moscow Air Show (MAKS 2013).
Raytheon’s AN/TPY-2 X-band mobile radar is one of the United States’ most powerful assets in the defense against ballistic missiles. That threat is an increasingly worrisome one: according to unclassified U.S. Missile Defense Agency data the number of such missiles outside the control of the U.S., NATO, Russia and China is around 6,300. That figure is forecast to grow to nearly 8,000 in the next decade.
Israeli defense specialist Rafael (Chalet A194, Static A33) is exhibiting a range of the company’s products and solutions at Paris, including the new Spice 250 weapon and a wide range of air defense missiles and control systems. Although it is well known for its missiles and electro-optical sensors, Rafael is involved in the creation of complex systems that bring increasing effectiveness, efficiency and economy to the defense arena.
On May 16, at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii, a Raytheon SM-3 Block IB hit-to-kill interceptor was successfully fired by the Aegis-equipped cruiser U.S.S. Lake Erie at a separating short-range ballistic missile target. The FTM-19 test was not only the 23rd successful intercept for the SM-3 weapon, but the third consecutive success for the latest Block IB version. Having achieved three successful strikes in a row, the Block IB is now authorized for production.
On display here and ready for export, Europe’s own state-of-the-art air defense system has now demonstrated its anti-tactical ballistic missile (TBM) capability three times. In the most recent test two months ago, the MBDA Aster 30 missile successfully intercepted a target representing a TBM fired from 185 miles away. Unlike the first two anti-TBM tests, this one was fully coordinated within the NATO command-and-control structure.
Prime contractor Raytheon expects that the U.S. Army will begin an operational evaluation in the coming fiscal year of its joint land attack cruise missile defense elevated netted sensor system (JLENS), an aerostat-based surveillance system that will monitor a sizeable chunk of the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region.