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Raytheon Delivers Improved Second Generation Thermal Sights for Combat Vehicles and Stryker Teams Ahead of Schedule

MCKINNEY, Texas, Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Starting this month, Stryker Brigade Combat Teams, Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, HMMWV (high mobility, multi-purpose wheeled vehicle) scouts, and field artillery forward observers will be equipped with performance enhanced thermal sights produced by Raytheon Company. Raytheon Network Centric Systems made its first shipment two months early in response to the U.S. Army's request for accelerated delivery.

Under a two-year, $101 million Army contract, Raytheon and its subcontractor DRS will produce 961 "Block 1 B-Kits" to upgrade vehicle weapon sights with the latest in forward-looking infrared (FLIR) technology. One hundred twenty-nine Abrams M1A2s, 90 Abrams M1A1s, 131 Bradley M2A3s, 125 Egyptian M1A1s and 247 Long Range Advanced Scout Surveillance Systems/ Fire Support Sensor Systems will get Raytheon's advanced second generation FLIR as part of a fleet-wide horizontal technology insertion program.

Raytheon expects B-Kit production quantities to exceed 961 units as the Army -- as part of its transition to a modular force -- continues to upgrade existing Abrams and Bradley vehicles with second generation thermal sights.

Weapon sights that are based on FLIR technology support battlefield surveillance and target acquisition. They allow gunners and field commanders to see, identify and target enemy platforms 24 hours a day, regardless of obscurants such as smoke, fog and dust. Early second-generation FLIR-based weapon sights are fielded to troops in Iraq.

Block 1 second generation FLIRs will improve Block 0 performance and put more capability in the hands of war fighters. The new system generates a clearer image with more scene contrast, less jitter and higher resolution. Compared to first generation FLIR systems on older M1A1s, Block 1 will double the distance at which troops can identify a target, and significantly increase the distance at which troops can detect and recognize specific targets. The greater the identification range, the more quickly and accurately American troops can target enemy platforms or avoid fratricide.

"The Block 1, HTI 2nd Gen FLIR B-kit is a significant, spiral improvement to the Army's night vision capability. The improved performance will preserve our combat overmatch for the foreseeable future," said Col. Mike Bowman, U.S. Army project manager for Night Vision, Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition.

"Giving our troops the ability to 'shoot the enemy before he knows you're there' is one way we help them come home safely," said Glynn Raymer, vice president of Raytheon Combat Systems.

Block 1 will give the Army further benefits. The new sights will cost and weigh less than Block 0 systems; they will also consume less power and space. Block 0 systems consist of two "boxes" that are installed within the cramped interior of a tank. Block 1 reduces the "box count" from two to one and makes space for other equipment. The more compact system will improve reliability while reducing maintenance time and logistics costs. These benefits apply both to current force upgrades and new developments.

Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN), with 2003 sales of $18.1 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 78,000 people worldwide.

Note to editors:

Block 1 B Kit is a two-year production contract covering the "horizontal technology integration" of Raytheon FLIR technology into new Army vehicles as they are manufactured. The procurement agency is the U. S. Army Communication and Electronics Command on behalf of Program Manager FLIR. The first year's work is valued at $45 million.

First fielded in 1999, Raytheon's Block 0 FLIR provides the thermal sighting capability for the Army's premier combat vehicles (the Abrams M1A2- SEP and the Bradley M2/M3A3).

    Raytheon Block 0 sights are now employed in Iraq.  The legacy weapon
sights performed well and will continue to support warfighters for years to
come.  The new Block 1 B Kit systems will gradually replace the older weapon
sights.

    Contact:
     Patricia Perlini
     972.952.4033


SOURCE  Raytheon Company
    -0-                             08/19/2004
    /CONTACT:  Patricia Perlini of Raytheon Company, +1-972-952-4033/
    /Web site:  http://www.raytheon.com/
    (RTN)

CO:  Raytheon Company
ST:  Texas
IN:  AIR ARO
SU:  PDT

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8710 08/19/2004 13:06 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com