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  • PARIS: Raytheon’s robust weapons offering at Paris packs punch

PARIS: Raytheon’s robust weapons offering at Paris packs punch

Raytheon Missile Systems has set up shop at the Paris Air Show with hopes of expanding its customer base for advanced weapons like the traditional advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM), AIM-9X sidewinder and joint standoff weapon, but also newly developed offerings like the small diameter bomb (SDB) II.

The company arrives at the air show after a particularly busy couple of months, with its SDB II and MALD-J (miniature air-launched decoy-jammer) receiving positive production decisions from the Pentagon. Its newest JSOW-C1 glide-bomb recently completed a five-shot test campaign against land and moving maritime targets, qualifying the C1 to move to operational testing on the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Raytheon is also owed an AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II operational test and evaluation report from the US Navy, which the company says will unlock deliveries to the first two foreign military sales customers - Saudi Arabia and Australia.

“They’ve been sitting in the bunkers. They’re fine, good to go,” Raytheon AIM-9X business development manager, Stephen Andersen, tells Flight Daily News.

Both countries will receive the latest approved software load prior to delivery, likely to be in the third or fourth quarter of this year.

Seventeen nations carry sidewinders, and the latest configuration deals with parts obsolescence and boosts computing power. A full-rate production decision to ramp up to factory capacity - about 600 to 800 missiles per year - is expected in July.

Raytheon is banking on AIM-9X, AMRAAM, JSOW and SDB II integration with Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to open up new markets among the 13 JSF buyers. The US Marine Corps will declare F-35B initial operating capability this summer, but the real business opportunities for munitions makers will come between 2018 and 2025 as the F-35 Block 3F and Block 4 configurations come online.

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Raytheon does not have permission to sell two of its latest weapons, the AIM-120D AMRAAM and ADM-160 MALD-J which carry a counter-IADS electronic warfare payload and switches between jamming and decoy mode.

“Although the international community has expressed significant interest in AIM-120D, to date it hasn’t been approved for export,” says AMRAAM business development manager Neil Jennings. “We’re still in full production on AIM-120C7 and that’s the weapon we’re using with our international partners. The C7 is a very sophisticated weapon and has a lot of the same technologies that the D-model has.”

For MALD, Raytheon is looking for its first foreign buyer of the earlier decoy-only version that has been approved for export to select countries, or the standalone missile body to carry alternative payloads, whether that is an electronic warfare device or explosive warhead. With a range of over 500nm and more than 1000 vehicle bodies delivered to the US government, Raytheon says the turbojet-powered “MALD-Vehicle” is a competitive host platform.

MALD programme manager Brian Burton says Raytheon has done air vehicle fit checks with the Boeing AV-8B Harrier and Eurofighter Typhoon, as well as the General Atomics MQ-1C Gray Eagle and MQ-9 Reaper UAVs domestically. MALD, which replicates the radar signature of a “blue” aircraft, is integrated with the F-16 and B-52, but Burton hopes to see that aircraft base expand.

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