In a region increasingly concerned with security, the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition is an important showcase.
DIMDEX 2016, held in Qatar on March 29-31, will help focus international attention on the growing need for maritime security in the Middle East and North Africa. Raytheon will have a strong presence at the event, presenting proven technologies to protect valuable maritime vessels from a wide range of threats. Attendees will also be briefed on the company’s defense systems for domains beyond the sea, including shore-based interceptors and radars that protect against the rapidly advancing threat of ballistic missiles.
Raytheon’s SeaRAM ship defense system protects ships that operate close to shore. It fires supersonic, self-guided Rolling Airframe Missiles to shield against incoming, close-range threats like anti-ship missiles, helicopters, aircraft and surface craft.
In January, Raytheon announced the initial intercept test of its latest version of RAM, the Block 2 variant, during a U.S. Navy live-fire exercise at China Lake in California. Two months later, a guided missile destroyer launched a RAM missile from a SeaRAM system for the first time.
“We’re not just interested in helping our allies defend their naval assets,” said Alan Davis, RAM program director. “We’re focused on expanding the partnership.”
Another critical ship self-defense capability is Griffin, a precision-guided “mini-missile” that is currently deployed on the U.S. Navy’s Cyclone-class patrol ships in the Persian Gulf.
Designed to defeat a variety of maritime threats, including small craft on the move, the 33-pound, 42-inch-long Griffin isn’t just a sea-faring weapon. It’s a multi-mission, multi-service weapon that can also be used on land and in the air.
There are four variants: Griffin A is an aft-eject missile; Griffin B is a forward-firing missile; Griffin C has dual-mode guidance and in-flight retargeting; and Griffin C-ER is an extended-range missile. All versions have GPS-aided inertial guidance and semi-active laser seekers, and a simple, easy-to-operate, graphic user interface that allows for flexible operation.
In January, the U.S. Air Force awarded Raytheon $85.5 million for additional Griffin A and B missiles. Griffin A is launched from a common launch tube and is deployable from aircraft platforms, including the C-130 Hercules. The forward-firing Griffin B uses a composite launch tube carried by rotary and fixed-wing aircraft.
The Stinger weapon system has been combat-proven in four major conflicts and is now deployed in more than 18 nations and with all four U.S. military services.
“Stinger is an immediate-response weapon of choice against a wide range of air threats, protecting both fixed sites and maneuver forces,” said Jack Elliot, Raytheon’s Stinger program director. “Our newest Stinger has a reprogrammable microprocessor. It’s increased the success rate against advanced threats to more than 90 percent.”
The combination of supersonic speed, agility and a highly accurate guidance and control system gives Stinger the operational edge against cruise missiles and all classes of aircraft. It’s a lightweight, self-contained air defense system that can be rapidly deployed by ground troops and on military platforms. The missile is also used on Apache helicopters for air-to-air engagements.
IN THE SKY
Ballistic missiles are an evolving threat. However, defense against such threats is evolving just as quickly.
“Depending on the region, the country and the specific threats faced, we’ll build a radar sized to meet the unique requirements,” said Dave Gulla, vice president of Mission Systems and Sensors for Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems.
The AN/FPS-132 Early Warning Radar is designed to detect missile launches that take place thousands of miles away, providing many minutes of warning time to alert command and control centers and cue fire control systems.
“This highly reliable radar requires very low manning, yet will operate 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, providing up to 360 degrees of coverage out to 5,000 kilometers,” said Dr. Steve Sparagna, chief engineer for the AN/FPS-132 EWR. “It is the ideal sensor to deter and detect hostile missile launches.”
The AN/TPY-2 is arguably the most powerful ballistic missile defense radar in the world today, known for its ability to identify a single threat in a sky filled with other objects.
According to Tom Laliberty, vice president of business development at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, the AN/TPY-2 is particularly powerful when paired with the Standard Missile-3 ballistic missile interceptor.
“The possibilities for increased protection through extended battlespace and defended area are very promising for both U.S. warfighters and our international partners,” Laliberty said.
SM-3 is a case study in the evolution of a missile defense system. The interceptor, historically launched from Aegis ships, is now also land-based in Romania.
Land-based SM-3 sites can also help defend locations in the Middle East and Japan, according to a 2014 report by a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
“This new deployment flexibility opens up the door in terms of who might be able to take advantage of this capability for national defense,” said Dean Gehr, director of Raytheon’s Land-based Standard Missile program.
SM-3 and AN/TPY-2 provide “upper-tier” missile defense. “Lower-tier” threats closer to cities, military bases and critical infrastructure require the Patriot’s long-range, high altitude, all-weather protection.
After more than 200 combat engagements, Patriot is the tactical ballistic missile defense system of choice for 13 countries, including many members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Raytheon has rolled out a new radar prototype for the Patriot system that uses the gallium nitride, or GaN, semiconductor technology. It powers an active electronically scanned array – a major advancement that improves capability while cutting operational costs almost in half.