Series of agreements signed by Boeing opens the door to international participation in ballistic missile defence

Boeing has signed agreements with European companies that could open the US missile defence programme to international participation.

Boeing and BAE Systems have signed a memorandum of understanding to "support all aspects of global ballistic missile defence [BMD]". The US company also signed deals with Alenia Spazio and EADS during the show. Boeing is the prime contractor on US integrated missile defence systems.

BAE group marketing director Mike Rouse says the deal is the culmination of 12-18 months of talks, but warns it is "early days" and there is as yet "little detail".

Rouse says BAE "is looking to play on a variety of tiers", which could include testbeds, system architectures, missiles and kill vehicles, and seekers.

Jim Evatt, Boeing president missile defence systems, says the agreement is a "clear opportunity [for BAE]. Should the dialogue and discussions lead to key BAE technologies of interest to the US Missile Defense Agency, we would advise it to take advantage as necessary."

Rouse says the UK company's US business means it can begin work with Boeing without waiting for technical assistance agreements to be negotiated. UK personnel will later be involved in the work. Rouse says the agreements with the three European companies will allow technologies to be incorporated from joint venture companies such as missile manufacturer MBDA and command and control systems specialist AMS.

The UK does not have a formal position on missile defence, and the USA is keen to upgrade the early-warning radar facility at Fylingdales in northern England. Rouse says the UK government is aware of BAE's work with Boeing and is "not stopping the export of UK technology".

One aim is to create systems that are effective against short-, medium- and long-range threats. Any operational system is likely to have an architecture into which European or US sensors and defence systems can be integrated, says Evatt.

Source: Flight International