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Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Co. have formed Netfires LLC, a limited liability company to pursue missile and launcher development and production for the Non Line of Sight - Launch System (NLOS-LS), also known as Netfires. Products under development include a Loitering Attack Missile (LAM), a Precision Attack Missile (PAM) and an autonomous Container Launch Unit.
Both companies are under contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to demonstrate elements of the NLOS-LS weapon system. Elements include prototypes of a LAM, PAM and launcher. Although the two missiles have significantly different mission profiles, the objective is that they both operate as part of a system that includes a common launcher. Developing the systems together will enhance component as well as command and control commonality throughout the NLOS-LS. Additionally, the LLC will offer a single source for NLOS-LS development and production for the Army's new NLOS-LS task force. The two companies will jointly manage the LLC.
Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have a history of successfully working together on such programs as the US Army's Javelin anti-armor weapon. The two companies announced in February a teaming agreement to pursue the US Navy's Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) Block II program.
The NLOS-LS weapon system will provide non-line-of-sight fires for the Army's Future Combat Systems and has been a DARPA-managed technology development program since 1997 when the program was completed and known as the Advanced Fire Support System. Under the current program, which includes combined DARPA - Army Science and Technology funding, flight tests of LAM and PAM prototypes will continue through the calendar year 2003. Existing Army risk reduction contracts at both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon will be rolled over into the LLC. The NLOS-LS system design and demonstration is on schedule to begin in the fiscal year 2004. The LAM is an expendable loitering, hunter-killer, that is seven inches in diameter and weighs about 100 pounds. It is capable of searching a large area using a laser radar (LADAR) seeker with automatic target recognition. It will have a 45-minute cruise capability using a micro turbojet engine and a warhead payload.
The PAM is a low cost direct attack missile that is also seven inches in diameter and weighs about 100 pounds and will provide a wide range of support, from 0.5 to 50 kilometers. It will include a variable thrust solid rocket motor, dual-mode precision uncooled infrared/semi-active laser seeker and a large multi-mode warhead.