News From Washington

Raytheon Receives $134 M Joint Standoff Weapon Contract

Raytheon Co. has received a $134 M contract from the US Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD, for full-rate and low rate initial production (LRIP) of the AGM-154A and AGM-154B Joint Standoff Weapons (JSOW), respectively. In addition to the production orders, the contract provides for more than $600 M in follow-on production options over the next three years.

JSOW is an unpowered glide weapon that enables tactical strike aircraft and bombers to attack hostile targets from safe standoff distances while improving aircraft survivability. The Navy is acting as the lead service for the joint Navy and Air Force JSOW effort, which has expanded into a family of weapons effective against a wide variety of targets. JSOW can be launched by essentially every strike aircraft and bomber in both the Navy and Air Force inventories.

During low and full-rate production, the Navy and Air Force are planning to purchase approximately 11,800 AGM-154A weapons, which are equipped with combined effects bomblet submunitions designed for large-area targets. A total procurement of approximately 4800 AGM-154B weapons is planned. The LRIP contract for this version, which is equipped with sensor-fused weapon submunition for armored targets, calls for 24 units to be delivered beginning in December.

DarkStar and Global Hawk HAE Program Costs Reviewed

A report from the General Accounting Office (GAO), "Progress Toward Meeting High Altitude Endurance Aircraft Price Goals," (GAO/NSIAD-99-29) concludes that the

Department of Defense (DoD) does not expect to be able to adhere to its original budget for the production of DarkStar or Global Hawk high altitude endurance (HAE) vehicles. (The DoD originally hoped for a cost of $10 M per unit in FY 1994 dollars.)

DarkStar, which is equipped with stealth features that permit it to operate in high threat areas, is being designed to fly over 500 nautical miles and conduct surveillance for up to eight hours before returning to base. Global Hawk is being designed to fly 3000 nautical miles and conduct reconnaissance for 24 hours before returning to base. Its conventional, large radar cross-section design makes it suitable only for missions into low enemy threat areas.

Four DarkStar and five Global Hawk prototypes are being produced for use in an HAE military utility assessment beginning in April. Assessments of both aircraft are scheduled to be complete by March 2000. If procurement proceeds, seven DarkStar and 20 Global Hawk aircraft (plus an additional number of each for backup and attrition) will be ordered.

The DoD has increased its price projections to $13.7 M for DarkStar and $14.8 M for Global Hawk. However, the GAO feels that these projections may understate the extent to which the actual costs will exceed the originally slated $10 M because program officials have excluded several cost categories that are traditionally included in such calculations.

Editor's Note: Shortly after the release of this report, Defense Daily reported that the DoD had terminated the  DarkStar program on the grounds that it "overlapped" the Global Hawk UAV effort.

Electronically Scanned Array Radar to be Developed for Super Hornet

According to Defense Daily, President Clinton's plan to increase the defense budget by $110 B from FYs 2000 through 2005 will include $374 M to develop the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar for the Navy's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft. A breakdown of the funding extends $4 M in FY 2000, $93 M in FY 2001, $80 M in FY 2002, $93 M in FY 2003, $64 M in FY 2004 and $40 M in FY 2005.

AESA will improve the radar detection range and passive detection and targeting capabilities of the Raytheon APG-73 radar designed for the F/A-18C/D Hornet. The technology will also be applied to Boeing's National Missile Defense system and Lockheed Martin's F-22 Raptor fighter. The nonmovable radar will also enhance the stealth properties of the targeting platform.

HARM Missile Accuracy to be Improved

According to the Armed Forces News Wire Service, the military is developing a three-step program to improve the accuracy of the AGM-88 High Speed Anti-radiation Missile (HARM). The commanders-in-chief have insisted that future surface-to-air missile (SAM) radar emitters (even those that are shut down before an attack against them is launched) be effectively disabled by single-shot hard kills rather than relying on second missions to complete their disablement.

In the first phase of the program, software changes will be instituted to enhance missile threat performance against several threat countermeasures and accommodate the future addition of precision navigation. In the second stage, the mechanical gyroscope navigation system will be replaced with a combination Global Positioning System (GPS) and inertial measurement unit (IMU). Raytheon, Germany's BGT and Italy's Alenia Difesa have been awarded contracts totaling more than $100 M for engineering and manufacturing development of the new navigational system, which is expected to increase the probability of kill against SAM sites and reduce the risk of fratricide. Production on the improved system is expected to begin in 2003. In the final phase of the program, the Advanced Antiradiation Guided Missile will be developed and incorporate the new precision navigation and a dual-mode seeker to improve HARM's effectiveness against mobile SAM sites.

Greece Contracts for $1.1 B Patriot Air Defense System

The Hellenic Ministry of Defense has signed an award order with Raytheon Co. for a Patriot air defense system. The contract, which is valued at approximately $1.1 B, calls for four Patriot batteries plus two optional batteries that are expected to be awarded later this year. Work on the system will be performed in Greece and at Raytheon's Andover, MA facility. Raytheon will also provide logistic and engineering support to Patriot systems in Greece and to Hellenic industry over the life of the program.

According to a report in Jane's Defence Upgrades, Northrop Grumman has proposed to add a high resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mode to the F-16C/D APG-68(V)8 radar as part of the US Air Force's F-16C/D Multi-staged Improvement Program (MSIP-IV). The SAR mode would improve the capability to search for and acquire surface targets as well as increase the accuracy of GPS-guided munitions by supplying them with position updates before launch. If the MSIP-IV is implemented, both SAR and terrain-following modes could be added to nearly 700 F-16C/D Block 40/50s by 2005.

While the proposed upgrade has not yet been funded, Northrop Grumman estimates that $80 M would permit flight testing of the new radar to be performed in approximately 20 months and integrated into the F-16 in an additional seven to 10 months. The new system features a mean time between failure of 400 to 450 hours compared to 264 hours typical in earlier versions. According to Northrop Grumman, the new equipment will save over $1 B in operations and maintenance costs over the life of the Air Force's F-16 fleet.