Lockheed Martin anticipates 200 missile launch order

Lockheed Martin expects to finalise a sale of its Patriot PAC-3 surface-to-air missile to Japan before the end of this year pending a government-to-government agreement on technology transfer, including licensed co-production of rounds, within the next six months.

The launch order is expected to comprise 200 missiles, with initial entry into service in 2007.

Paul Bergander, Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control senior manager international business development, says Japan has asked to co-produce the PAC-3 missile. This depends "on what the US government wants to keep".

Mitshubishi Heavy Industries is expected to be the local production partner in Japan, and is already producing the Raytheon Patriot PAC-2 missile under licence.

Speaking at Asian Aerospace, Bergander said in-principle agreement has been reached on Japanese production of PAC-3 ground systems.

If co-production is rejected, missiles would be sourced from existing US production lines. Bergander says that initial deliveries from the USA would take some 18 months after firm orders were placed.

Northrop Grumman also expects a wave of new sales to Japan as a result of its decision to procure a ballistic missile defence system. Chief executive Ronald Sugar says Japan is the biggest potential export market in Asia for ballistic missile defence products.

Source: Flight International