FARNBOROUGH: Raytheon Systems eyes export opportunities for Sentinel

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UK company Raytheon Systems Limited is looking to export its Paveway IV precision-guided bomb, Sentinel R1 ground surveillance system and Shadow R1 signals intelligence platform.

The potential deals are among the objectives of Bob Delorge, its newly installed chief executive.

"We are working towards a big announcement" on the 226kg (500lb) Paveway IV, he says, but declines to provide further details of the proposed export deal.

India has previously selected the Sentinel system, but is currently re-assessing its options for the capability, which has been deployed on operations over Afghanistan for the last year by the UK armed forces. Delorge says RSL already has UK government approval to export the technology to New Delhi.

The company is also talking to the UK Ministry of Defence about introducing additional capability to the Royal Air Force's Sentinel R1 aircraft, even though the system will not achieve full operational capability until mid-2011.

The talks could potentially lead to enhancements funded via the urgent operational requirement mechanism, or form part of a planned future Sentinel sustainment programme upgrade, the company says.

Sentinel is used to provide services such as ground vehicle traffic analysis and convoy overwatch in Afghanistan, and is "non-stop out there", says a source at the RAF's 5 (Army Cooperation) Squadron. The unit will fly the Sentinel R1 on the first three show days.

 
The RAF uses the Shadow (left) and Sentinel (right) aircraft over Afghanistan
© Raytheon Systems Limited

Raytheon is meanwhile offering to use its UK company's experience in developing the Royal Air Force's Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350ER-based Shadow R1 SIGINT aircraft to meet the requirements of the US Army.

The service is seeking a similar capability through its extended medium-altitude reconnaissance and surveillance system programme. The Shadow flies with a two-person flight crew and five onboard system operators.

"One of the hot spots going forward is intelligence, and actionable intelligence," Delorge says.