News from Washington
South Korea Requests Purchase of Raytheon’s Patriot Missiles
According to US Department of Defense (DoD) officials, South Korea has asked to purchase $4.2 B in US Patriot missiles and advanced firing units built by Raytheon Co. to defend against possible missile attack from North Korea. If granted, the purchase will include the sale of 14 Patriot Advance Capability 3 (PAC-3) firing units, 14 engagement radars, 76 launching stations and 616 current Patriot missiles. (Lockheed Martin Corp. is currently developing and testing an advanced PAC-3 version of the Patriot missile, but it is not yet ready for production.) The proposed sale could potentially enhance the Republic of Korea’s defensive capability against hostile neighbors, lessening the burden on the US, which currently maintains 37,000 troops in South Korea. While North Korea has promised to stop testing of its new long-range Taepodong ballistic missile in exchange for better relations with the US, the DoD believes that North Korea still has an active arms development program and may have hundreds of shorter-range theater ballistic missiles aimed at South Korea. However, DoD officials assert that such a purchase by South Korea will be a major financial boost for Raytheon, which has suffered recent quarterly losses and reduced its earnings forecasts for 1999 and 2000.
DARPA Project to Improve Elusive Target Discovery and Identification
Despite the current sophistication of US surveillance and intelligence systems, three classes of targets -- moving targets, mobile surface-to-air missile radar sites and camouflaged targets -- pose troublesome discovery and identification problems for US air forces. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched a technical assault to improve the discovery and identification of these three target classes and make it possible to locate enemy forces at any point in time. DARPA’s specific research efforts will focus on improving the capabilities of sensors to locate and accurately identify targets, creating networking capabilities that combine and process information from various sensing systems and developing new radar to see through camouflage. Two major problems have been identified: targeting and getting a weapon on target.
With relatively minor modification, the agency hopes to take existing sensor assets that survey the ground and existing weapons to locate and engage hidden and moving targets. The goal for moving and mobile targets is to make the best use of available technology and, by networking the information delivered by air and space vehicles, provide location information far more precise than that available from a single sensor. Identification and location of those targets is expected to significantly improve with the sharing of data from mobile surface-to-air missile site emissions produced by sensor systems installed on available platforms in a theater of operations. Camouflaged and hidden targets present the most difficult problems and an effort to develop a foliage penetration synthetic aperture radar is currently under way. The challenge is for the system to process and interpret low resolution imagery. DARPA expects to test a foliage penetration system this year. Technology for identifying and precisely tracking moving targets is also scheduled for testing within the next 12 months. Mobile surface-to-air missile radar site identification and targeting technology is presently scheduled for testing in 2002.
Boeing Joins Meteor Missile Team
The Boeing Co. has entered into an agreement with the Matra-BAe Dynamics (MBD) Meteor missile team to become the US partner in the pursuit of the UK Beyond Visual Range Air-to-air Missile (BVRAAM) program. Under the terms of the agreement, the Meteor missile team will gain access to Boeing’s expertise in systems and aircraft integration and advanced manufacturing techniques. In addition, Boeing will serve as the marketing lead for potential future sales to the US and other markets. The Meteor team comprises MBD, Alenia Marconi Systems, Dasa’s LFK, CASA and Saab Dynamics. MBD is a 50/50 joint venture between British Aerospace and Aerospatiale Matra.
Raytheon to Develop AESA Radar
Following the completion of a competitive evaluation that began in September 1999, The Boeing Co. has selected Raytheon Co. to develop an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The addition of an AESA radar is expected to improve the survivability, capability and lethality of the Super Hornet. For example, AESA radar has the capability to increase the aircraft’s air-to-air target detection and tracking ranges, add higher resolution air-to-ground mapping modes at longer ranges and enable the aircraft to take full advantage of current and planned weapons. In addition, AESA radar has the potential to improve situational awareness in the cockpit and significantly lower operating and support costs.
Under the terms of an advance agreement between Boeing and the US Navy, Boeing and its subcontractor, Raytheon, are expected to develop an integrated AESA radar prototype. Following successful demonstration of the prototype, an engineering and manufacturing development contract award from the Navy is expected in early 2001. Deliveries of AESA radar are scheduled to begin in 2004. The work will be performed by Raytheon’s Electronic Systems unit in El Segundo, CA.
Reduced Operational Effectiveness of Joint Standoff Weapon Reviewed
The General Accounting Office (GAO) has released a report, “Defense Acquisitions: Reduced Operational Effectiveness of Joint Standoff Weapon” (GAO/NSIAD-99-137), which examines the status of the US Navy and Air Force’s development and procurement plans for the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW). The JSOW, an air-to-ground missile that is expected to provide improved capabilities to hit targets from greater distances than many current weapons, has three warhead variants: wide area, anti-armor and unitary. The combat capabilities of the anti-armor and unitary variants are expected to fall substantially below initial expectations because they have limited ability to hit moving targets or targets whose geographical coordinates are not known in advance. Most of the intended targets for both variants are moving or relocatable targets. The wide-area variant is not seriously affected since its primary targets are stationary. The DoD postponed attainment of JSOW’s required capability to attack moving or relocatable targets from standoff range, an operational assessment of the anti-armor variant and a redesign of the unitary variant to reduce costs. Although the requirement remains, aircraft targeting system upgrades or third-party targeting will be needed to achieve the capability.
While all JSOW variants are still expected to be effective in hitting fixed targets and targets with known coordinates, the planned quantities of missiles are based on the number of intended targets. Since the moving or movable targets no longer can be considered a practical use for JSOW, a significant reduction in the production quantities of both the unitary and anti-armor variants is indicated. The GAO suggests that other existing weapons or future weapons may be more cost-effective for the missions that the limited capability JSOW can serve. The report also recommends that JSOW procurement quantities be revised and made consistent with the requirements for stationary target attacks. At that point, the total and unit costs for those quantities can be reviewed and the cost-effectiveness of the JSOW program assessed.