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Successful Test of an AIM-9X Missile by a Raytheon-Led Team Demonstrates Potential for Low Cost Solution in Littoral Joint Battlespace
TEWKSBURY, Mass., Feb. 6, 2006 /PRNewswire/ -- A Raytheon-led team successfully launched an AIM-9X from a stationary, vertical platform last November. The missile successfully locked on after launch and hit its target in a test of its potential launch from a submarine. The test was conducted for the Naval Sea Systems Command at the U.S. Army's McGregor Test Range in New Mexico Nov. 19, 2005.
A successful test firing matures the technology that will provide the Navy with a new capability when the Joint Battlespace is near the coast at a fraction of the cost of developing a new weapon system. The new system is an existing launch capability married to a proven weapon fired from a submarine at periscope depth.
"This is very exciting," said Dan Smith, president of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems. "In partnering with the Navy and Northrop Grumman, our team has been able to take an already proven off-the-shelf weapon, make software modifications, use existing launch technology, and give the combatant commander another option in the coastal Joint Battlespace.
"The implications of this first phase test are far-reaching. It provides the Navy with a low-cost solution with a high-impact capability in its approach to littoral warfare without having to go through a costly and lengthy R&D process."
Mark Russell, vice president of Raytheon IDS engineering, said that the recent test launch also represents a significant step toward enabling the submarine force to strike targets with surprise from shallower coastal waters. Now, in addition to MK-48 torpedo and the Tomahawk cruise missile, submarine forces will have the option of another weapon system making them a more versatile player in the integrated battlespace.
"Successfully demonstrating the AIM-9X lock-on-after-launch mode from a vertical orientation launch is a major step toward providing our submariners with an unprecedented offensive and defensive capability," said Brock McCaman, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems Air-to-Air Product Line. "It's another example of the tactical flexibility of this proven weapon system."
"This test is the first step toward an AIM-9X missile being launched vertically from a submarine," said John Cochran, the Raytheon IDS program manager. "Ultimately, the missile will be encased in a launch capsule. When the capsule broaches the surface, the missile will launch and then acquire and engage its target."
For this test, the missile was launched from a stationary, vertically- oriented U.S. Army XM-85 Chaparral launcher. The AIM-9X missile successfully acquired and destroyed a slow moving helicopter drone target with a direct hit. AIM-9X missiles are normally launched from fighter aircraft.
"This non-traditional launch of the AIM-9X provides the submarine force with an important element toward having the capability to strike enemy patrol aircraft, helicopters, and high speed patrol boats," said Eldon Vita, the Missile Subsystem program manager for Raytheon Missile Systems. "It provides combatant commanders with another option in support of interdiction, special operations, battlespace preparation, forced entry, anti-access, and area denial."
The test is part of a multi-year risk retirement program that may lead to full scale development. In addition to testing upgraded missile guidance and target acquisition software, the firing demonstrated the potential for underwater vertical launch from a capsule and the missile's ability to quickly reach stable flight when starting from a stationary platform.
Based in Tewksbury, Mass., Integrated Defense Systems is Raytheon's leader in Joint Battlespace Integration. With a strong international and domestic customer base, including the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. armed forces, Integrated Defense Systems provides a wide spectrum of integrated air and missile defense and naval and maritime warfighting solutions.
Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN), with 2005 sales of $21.9 billion, is an industry leader in defense and government electronics, space, information technology, technical services, and business and special mission aircraft. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 80,000 people worldwide.