News From Washington

1999-2008 Worldwide Fighter/Attack Aircraft Production to Exceed $129 B

According to a report from the Teal Group, approximately $129.1 B will be spent over the next 10 years in the fighter/attack aircraft production market. Despite the decline in demand for fighter/attack aircraft during the last 10 years and several false starts at recovery, Teal Group analysts expect the market to show a real recovery before the end of 2004 and the annual value of fighter production to grow 70 percent.

Production of 2732 fighters worth $129.1 B (in 1999 dollars) is forecast between 1999 and 2008. Between 1989 and 1998, 5035 planes worth $172 B (in 1999 dollars) were produced. The average fighter unit cost will rise from $34.2 M to $47.2 M in the coming decade, a trend that the Teal Group feels displays the growing tendency of manufacturers to ignore the export markets.

The study indicates that much of the market growth will reflect an end to both US and European procurement holidays. Europe's market share is expected to increase dramatically as Eurofighter and Rafale production begins. The US forecast relies on the delay of JSF production until F-22 and F/A-18E/F programs have been completed.

Beyond 2008, the report expects that JSF will dominate the worldwide market unless Europe's fighter manufacturers join forces with each other and/or with US partners. For additional information, contact Richard Aboulafia, Teal Group Corp. (202) 667-5104.

US Relies on Three All-weather Weapons in NATO Air Campaign

According to a recent Reuters report, the principal weapons being employed by US forces during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) air campaign in Yugoslavia are sea- and air-launched cruise missiles and satellite-guided bombs. The sea-launched missile, the Tomahawk Land-attack Cruise Missile, is an 18-foot, $1 M munition fired from Navy cruisers, destroyers and submarines. Current models offer a range of 1000 miles compared to the 700-mile range of those used during the Gulf War with a more accurate satellite guidance system. The missiles carry 1000-pound warheads with titanium shielding to permit penetration of walls before explosion. The missiles also may carry up to 166 antipersonnel small bombs. The Conventional AGM-86C Cruise Missile is the air-to-ground version of the Tomahawk and can be fired up to 1500 miles by B-52H bombers. Each unit carries a 2000-pound warhead designed to damage hardened targets. A second air-launched munition of choice over Yugoslavia is the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) (or the drop-and-forget bomb). Each JDAM carries an internal satellite-aided navigation system that guides it to its target and permits pilots to leave an area immediately after releasing the weapon.

Raytheon Receives Prototype High Power Discrimination Radar Contract

The US Navy has awarded Raytheon Co. an incrementally funded cost plus fixed-fee letter contract to develop a prototype high power discriminator (HPD) radar. Initial funding for the contract (which has a not-to-exceed value of $118 M) is $7.4 M.

HPD, a ship-based X-band radar, provides long-range detection, tracking and discrimination of advanced theater ballistic missile (TBM) threats. HPD takes advantage of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization's investment in the Theater High Altitude Air Defense radar by leveraging proven active array technologies and complex theater missile defense software. The HPD radar would operate as an adjunct radar within the AEGIS weapon system to counter the most advanced long-range TBM targets. If fully funded, Raytheon will design, develop, fabricate and test a radar prototype under the four-year contract, and the radar will undergo extensive testing on land and at sea. Engineering and design work will be performed in facilities located in Bedford and Sudbury, MA.

FAA Signs Agreements for GPS Local Area Augmentation System

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has signed agreements with Raytheon Systems Co., Salt Lake City, UT, and Honeywell Inc., Glendale, AZ, for the joint development of the Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS) for use in the National Airspace System. Raytheon and Honeywell will provide funding for the development and the FAA will provide specifications and expertise on development and certification.

LAAS will augment the Global Positioning System (GPS) signal for accuracy and integrity at approximately 150 airports to support Category 1, 2 and 3 precision approaches in inclement weather. The system will also support ground operations such as collision avoidance and airport surface navigation and surveillance. LAAS is a complementary system to the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) presently under FAA development and acquisition. WAAS, a GPS-based navigation and landing system, will provide the accuracy, integrity, availability and continuity required to support all phases of flight through Category 1 precision approaches.

LAAS development has been divided into three stages (stages 0, 1 and 2). (The FAA is only offering financial support in the final stage.) Industry developers will build, test and field Category 1 LAAS equipment at airports and in aircraft. FAA acquisition and fielding of LAAS equipment is expected to begin in 2003 with final deployment in 2006. The LAAS capability does not require WAAS, and its implementation schedule is independent of the WAAS program. The FAA eventually intends to purchase up to 143 LAASs.

Rapid Development of Miniature Munitions Critical to JSF Program

According to the US Air Force, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program is focusing on the rapid development of miniature munitions such as the Small Smart Bomb (SSB) and the Low Cost Autonomous Attack System (LOCAAS) to meet the challenges of future conflicts. During the Precision Strike Association's annual symposium at Ft. Belvoir, VA, Col. Phil Faye, director of requirements for the JSF program, stated that miniature munitions significantly improve the estimated kills per sortie, and the capability to carry additional, smaller weapons can be developed quickly.

Studies have been conducted of different combinations of weapons carried by competing JSF concepts being developed by Lockheed Martin and Boeing consisting of two precision 2000-pound weapons or as many as eight 250-pound SSBs. The size of the JSF's payload is limited by the need to carry its weapons internally to improve its stealth characteristics. Increasing the number of weapons  carried by the JSF substantially reduces the number of sorties required to cover a given number of targets. The use of small weapons also reduces the cargo space needed to bring the weapons into a theater, which reduces response time during a crisis situation.

The goal of utilizing these devices is to shift the task of locating, classifying and attacking a target from the aircraft and pilot to the weapon. A JSF with 16 LOCAAS units would be expected to be far more effective in an anti-armor role than one with four 1000-pound cluster bombs because launch-and-leave weapons like LOCAAS offer the possibility of multiple kills per pass over a wider area without overtasking the pilot. Weapon accuracy will depend heavily on the development of a robust command, control, communications, computer and intelligence support infrastructure.

The final capabilities of the JSF depend on user requirements. (Three interim requirement documents have been issued.) The final release of a Joint Operational Requirements Document is scheduled for December.