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Raytheon to Develop New Counter Rocket System

by: Matthew Potter
March 6, 2012

Category: Business Line, Companies, Contract Awards, development program, Events, Lockheed Martin, missile defense, production program, Raytheon, Services, U.S. Army | RSS 2.0

As we discussed yesterday the U.S. military has invested millions into protecting their installations and personnel from enemy rocket and mortar attacks. This has primarily been through the use of the C-RAM system which utilizes a Raytheon (RTN) ship protection system, the Phalanx, on a ground mount. This utilizes a 20mm Gatling gun and on-mount fire control system. Northrop Grumman (NOC) is the prime contractor for that program.

Yesterday, though, Raytheon was awarded a contract to develop a new counter rocket system. This initial award has a value of close to $80 million. The goal is to develop a counter rocket system from already developed technology and have it rapidly tested and potentially into service.

The system, Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative (AI3), will have what seems to be a missile interceptor rather then a gun. Raytheon will develop this component of the system but the rest of it: launcher, fire control system and C2 will be existing equipment. Raytheon will have 18 months for development and testing with the goal of it being able to enter production at the end of that period.

This sounds like it will utilize components of the Avenger system which mounts the Stinger surface-to-air missile and 50 caliber machine guns on the HUMVEE or other vehicles. The different type of target will most likely need changes to the fire control system and the launcher may have to be adapted for the whatever the new missile will be.

The U.S. has had some success over the last ten years with rapid development of some equipment including C-RAM. This plan seems to follow in this plan and could lead to the fielding of improved capability rather rapidly.

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