In spite of a loss on the US Navy's small tactical unmanned aerial systems (STUAS)/Tier II contract last month, Raytheon remains confident the Killer Bee will find a customer.
The company is looking to market Killer Bee internationally, says Robert Francois, Raytheon's vice president of advanced missile systems and unmanned systems. Although there are customers out there, he says, the volume of sales will be more "by the handful - 10 to 15 in one place, two or three in another," than the high numbers STUAS would have meant.
The Navy loved the aircraft, Francois said, but hated the net recovery system. Raytheon was also judged to be riskier than the winning Boeing/InSitu team, in part because of the recovery system and the possible complications it could pose being used aboard a ship. Killer Bee also came in higher on cost, in large part due to an engineering and manufacturing development price tag 20% higher than competitors, he says.
"I think the net is fine for land," Francios says. "That was more of an issue than we anticipated." Raytheon will have to look hard at an alternate recovery methodology going forward, he says.