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Raytheon to Continue JAGM Development

Following the award of a similar contract to competitor Lockheed Martin (LMT) in August, Raytheon (RTN) received a contract from the U.S. Army to continue development of their proposed solution to the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) requirement.

The $65 million contract will provide for a Preliminary Design Review (PDR) and then ultimately allow mating of the Raytheon guidance sections with other missile components. Raytheon will continue to utilize their tri-mode seeker developed as part of the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) program.

Lockheed received a $64 million contract at the end of Fiscal Year 2012 for the same purpose.

The JAGM is a new missile that will replace the existing Hellfire and Maverick missiles launched from a variety of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft to strike ground and vehicle targets. The Hellfire has seen a great deal of use in Afghanistan and Iraq providing precision fire support for ground troops.

The Army had looked at cancelling JAGM but decided instead to continue development through these small contracts. If the program does go on to complete development and enter production the requirement could be for thousands of missiles at a cost of $10-12 billion. The Hellfire has also seen significant Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and the JAGM would be expected to as well.

Raytheon JAGM mock up photo by Author.

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JTRS Ground Radio Takes Budget Axe

Boeing (BA) formally received word from the U.S. Department of Defense that the proposed new radio for use in vehicles and by ground troops would be terminated. Boeing was performing on a contract to develop the system for production and qualify potential vendors for this part of the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) which will also have ship and air based versions. JTRS has been in development for several years to replace the U.S. and it’s Allies SINCGARS radio.

The decision was made due to concerns that the procurement costs the system would be much higher then originally thought. At this time as part of the overall budget plans the U.S. is making to try and reduce not only their annual deficits but the total of over $14 trillion in existing debt the Defense Department and the Services are under pressure to come up with a large amount of cuts. Some estimates are as high as $100 billion a year.

While a lot of work had gone into JTRS the program was at an easy stage to end. The contract with Boeing was set to end early next year as it transitioned to production. This means termination costs will be limited. It also means that a great deal of the work already done may be used by the new radio program already announced. That means the DOD will get some return for their investment.

Reportedly the Army had recommended termination as part of their budget proposal as the JTRS recently tested in a large exercise had many issues. These were not necessarily related to the design or construction but did indicate that the radio might have future issues when it went into service.

Canceling production of this program will save billions each year but there is still a requirement for a new radio and a new effort is part of the plan. Money from the current JTRS effort will be transferred to a new line to begin again. The new plan focuses on designing capabilities and then asking manufacturers to make systems that can work with the software rather then building a whole new hardware piece.

In order to make the kind of cuts being talked about the U.S. military will lose many more new programs as well as soldiers, ships, aircraft and support personnel. The example of the U.K. comes to mind which if the U.S. is similar will see the loss of a great deal of capability.

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BAE Systems Receives Contract Worth $28 Million to Produce Lightweight Helmets for the U.S. Marine Corps

PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BAE Systems has been awarded a $28 million contract by the Defense Logistics Agency to manufacture 120,000 lightweight helmets (LWH) for the U.S. Marine Corps. The contract also includes an option for an additional 120,000 lightweight helmets. Weighing less than four pounds, BAE Systems’ LWH replaces the Personnel Armor System Ground Troops helmet and represents the latest in high-performance combat helmet protection. “Although it may not look much different from other

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