HUGHES AND RAYTHEON have joined forces to bid for the US Army's Corps SAM surface-to-air missile programme, which is planned to be the basis of the Medium Extended Air Defence System (MEADS) to be developed co-operatively with France and Germany.

The companies were among five manufacturers awarded Corps SAM study contracts in 1992. Of the others, Lockheed and Martin Marietta are planning to merge and Loral has teamed with TRW and Westinghouse. The three teams expect to bid for two concept-development contracts to be awarded later this year.

Teaming became necessary after France and Germany agreed to join the Corps SAM programme in August 1994, but stipulated that they would only work with a maximum of two US contractor teams.

Under the terms of the co-operative agreement now being negotiated, the winning US teams will integrate with French and German industry teams to develop competing designs for the MEADS. Selection of a single international team, for development and production, is expected by 1998. The Franco-German teams are Aerospatiale/Daimler-Benz Aerospace and Thomson-CSF/ Siemens.

Industry is still awaiting the Corps SAM request for proposals (RFP), which was delayed from October 1994 by the French and German entry into the programme. The three countries have yet to sign the statement of intent, which would allow release of the RFP. Plans to sign the agreement in December 1994 foundered on last-minute disagreement over teaming arrangements.

The Corps SAM/MEADS will be a mobile replacement for the Raytheon Hawk air-defence system, capable of shooting down tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. Work will be split 50:25:25 between the USA, France and Germany, with the USA planning to spend, $2 billion on the Corps SAM between 1998 and 2003.

Source: Flight International