Microwave Journal

News From Washington

October 1, 2000

THAAD System Development Contract Awarded Raytheon Co. has been awarded a contract from Lockheed Martin Co. to design, develop and manufacture three Engineering and Manufacturing Development radars for the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. The award is valued in excess of $1.4 B and includes the hardware design, development and manufacture of six Battle Management/Command, Control, Communications and Information Tactical/Shelters Groups and related engineering support.

The THAAD radar is an X-band, phased-array, solid-state system. Using high power transmit/receive modules and advanced signal processing and data processors, the radar provides surveillance, detection, target tracking and kill assessment of threats. The three radars awarded under this contract are a follow-on to the successful two THAAD User Operational Evaluation System radars provided to the US Army in 1996.

The THAAD program is an integrated system consisting of launchers, missiles, battle management and control, and radars, and is the upper tier of the Army's two-tier theater missile defense concept. The higher altitude and wide area protection furnished by the THAAD system interface with the lower tier Patriot Air and Missile Defense system to provide a complete missile defense of critical and high value assets.

UK to Seek Alternative to MR TRIGAT Anti-tank Guided Weapon

The UK Defence Secretary has notified the UK's European partners in the Medium Range Anti-tank Guided Weapon system (MR TRIGAT) collaboration that the UK has decided not to proceed with the Industrialization and Production phase of the program. The lack of progress on the program since the UK indicated a willingness to proceed last summer is cited as evidence that there will be further and unacceptable delay and uncertainty in the program whose service date is already 10 years later than originally planned. The Defence Department has decided that the UK's operational requirements for a modern anti-tank weapon will be best met by an alternative national program and is investigating such a possibility.

MR TRIGAT is a crew-portable Medium Range Anti-tank Guided Weapon system planned to replace MILAN in the armed forces of the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. UK collaboration on the TRIGAT programs began in the mid-1970s, and the Full Development phase started in 1988 with an in-service date (ISD) of 1995. The most recent ISD is 2005.

The Industrialisation and Production memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been agreed to in 1998. The UK, Germany and France signed the MoU in 1999, but the Netherlands and Belgium have yet to do so. Aerospatiale Matra Missiles was the prime contractor for the Industrialization and Production phase; Matra Bae Dynamics was the major UK subcontractor. To date, expenditures on MR TRIGAT have been approximately £100 M. It is estimated that procuring an alternative system to MR TRIGAT will save more than that amount over 10 years.

Multiyear Javelin Anti-tank Weapon System Contract Awarded

The US Army has awarded the Raytheon-Lockheed Martin Javelin Joint Venture a $1.2 B multiyear contract for the production of Javelin anti-tank weapon systems. The contract extends over four years beginning in 2000, and includes the delivery of 11,805 missiles, 2968 command launch units (CLU), 1990 student and field tactical trainers, and other associated equipment. Javelin is currently in full-rate production under a multiyear contract awarded in 1997, and is in service with US Army and US Marine Corps units.

The Javelin medium-range, anti-tank missile system is a one-man transportable and employable fire-and-forget missile system that permits a single infantryman to engage any armored vehicle at ranges up to 2.5 kilometers. It replaces the wire-guided Dragon missile in Ranger and Special Operations units, infantry and engineer battalions, and armored scout platoons.

Raytheon, the leader of the joint venture, will provide system engineering and support for the joint venture and produce the CLU, missile guidance electronic unit and system software. Its Missile Systems business unit in Tucson, AZ will be the primary Javelin work site. Lockheed Martin will provide missile engineering and production support in its Orlando, FL facility; produce missile seekers in Ocala, FL; and perform missile all-up-round assembly in Troy, AL.

FCC Decision Extends Approval of AirCell Airborne Cellular Service

In a recent decision, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sided with AirCell Inc. and its 21 cellular carrier partners and ended a contentious proceeding between the AirCell group and seven of the US' largest cellular services carriers. The FCC's decision reaffirmed AirCell's public safety benefits and the viability of its communication technology. In addition, the Commission extended AirCell's operating authority by an additional two years.

The dispute between AirCell and the group of cellular carriers began in 1997 when the FCC's Office of Experimental Technology (OET) interrupted AirCell's experimental operations after appeals from several of the carriers. Subsequent extensive FCC-supervised tests in July 1997 verified the non-interfering nature of AirCell's technology, and the FCC OET lifted its restriction and permitted AirCell to resume operations.

In late 1998, the FCC's Wireless Technology Bureau granted AirCell and its partners a two-year exemption of the FCC's prohibition on the use of cellular phones in airborne aircraft. Under that exemption, AirCell was able to provide airborne cellular service to mobile terminals installed on general aviation aircraft using 800 MHz cellular frequencies in cooperation with licensed carriers. In its recent decision, the FCC found that there was no available evidence to support the claim that AirCell service is likely to cause harmful interference with ground-based cellular systems and ruled that the public safety benefits associated with the AirCell system were substantial. The ruling effectively extends the life of AirCell's authority to provide air-to-ground cellular service.

AirCell presently operates 84 cellular sites nationwide and has partnerships with 21 cellular service providers. The company plans to expand its network to approximately 150 sites and 25 service partners so that it can offer full nationwide service.

Global Hawk Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration Reviewed

A report from the General Accounting Office (GAO), "Progress of the Global Hawk Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration" (GAO/NSIAD-00-78), reviews the results of the High Altitude Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Advance Concept Demonstration with respect to the performance and cost objectives of the program. To assess the military utility of the Global Hawk, the US Air Force has been demonstrating prototype aircraft since June 1999. To date, the aircraft has demonstrated basic flying capabilities but has not had sufficient testing to determine whether it can successfully conduct reconnaissance missions on a regular basis. In October 1999, the Air Force reported prototype flights at altitudes over 66,000 feet for more than 27 hours. At the end of January, however, only 260 of 1200 planned flight test hours had been completed. While it appears possible that the aircraft may meet its performance goals, its escalating cost is a real concern. Neither the Department of Defense nor the Global Hawk contractor expects to achieve the $10 M flyaway price goal for the second group of 10 production vehicles. A July 1999 projection places that cost at $15.3 M, $500 K higher than the July 1998 estimate. *