With politicians in the U.S. clamoring for a “hedge” against future missile threats, and budget cuts anticipated on both sides of the Atlantic, is pitching a “smart defense” approach.
With internal investments, over the last 18 months the company has designed an architectural analysis tool to show how NATO can leverage current missile defense systems against various scenarios, says Wes Kremer, vice president of Air and Missile Defense systems. The modeling capability would allow governments to look at different trades to enable them to pool their assets.
But the system’s benefit may extend beyond a mere calculation of which combination of weapons and sensors can best counter an incoming threat. “What it really proved is the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts,” Kremer says. The entire package of existing assets can defeat “phase three” threats, he adds, referring to the third phase of the U.S. phased adaptive approach to missile defense in Europe.
Raytheon recently conducted a successful test of its Block IB interceptor, which is scheduled for production around 2015. And contractors are currently competing for the phase three contract to develop an SM3 Block IIB interceptor, which is expected to be awarded in early 2014.
Given that developing each one of these interceptors is a costly and intensive process, Raytheon’s architectural analysis tool could provide governments with a fallback position.
In addition to the announcement of the system, Raytheon disclosed thathas awarded it a $636 million contract to develop and sustain the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle for the system. The contract runs through November 2018 and upgrades the kill vehicles to capability enhancement Block II.