Raytheon Pitches Air and Missile Defense
By WENDELL MINNICK, ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates
Raytheon is in a variety of discussions with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member nations for sales that include the PAC-3 and Surface-Launched Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (SLAMRAAM), as well as upgrades to PAC-2 and MIM-23 HAWK (Homing All the Way Killer), said retired Maj. Gen. Joseph Garrett III, vice president, International Operations, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, at IDEX.
Raytheon is celebrating a 40-year relationship with Saudi Arabia. Having just returned from Jeddah last week, Garrett said that Raytheon air defense systems are protecting key infrastructure and people in Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
“Raytheon has had a very long and strong relationship in the integrated air defense business here in the Gulf,” he said. “We started with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over 40 years ago providing support for the deployment of their HAWK system and we continue to do that today in Saudi Arabia with the HAWK and Patriot.
“Now, I believe it is an absolutely vital priority as we look at the threats that face countries in the Gulf region that there is an integrated air and missile defense capability to meet today and tomorrow’s threats.”
Garrett said the threat of cruise missile and ballistic missile attack is very real for the GCC.
“I’ve been to Kuwait; I’ve seen the shopping mall where the cruise missile attacked during Operation Iraqi Freedom,” he said, referring to an Iraqi Chinese-made Silkworm missile that struck a Kuwait shopping mall and caused minor damage in March 2003. “I think it is a very strong threat here in the region.” .
Garrett also pointed to the increasing threat of tactical ballistic missiles, citing the North Korean missile tests in 2006 as an example.
“Those tests have underscored the need to have an integrated air defense system,” he said. “The North Koreans did demonstrate their intent to develop a weapon that has an extended range capable of threatening any country in the region, and their shorter-range launches did validate a capable, effective regional threat.
“In this area we have all heard a lot about Iran’s military modernization plans,” he continued. “We have seen news clips and releases on their large-scale military exercises and there is no doubt that that is a threat to contend with for many of the countries here in the region.”
Garrett said there is a future requirement for an advanced early warning radar (EWR). Raytheon is currently constructing an EWR in Taiwan to guard against a Chinese threat that includes over 800 short-range ballistic missiles.
“A large scale early warning radar provides long-range information on a regional basis,” he said. “Taiwan faces a very serious and growing threat of tactical ballistic missiles from China. I think there is a need for such a radar here in the region, as well.
“We also believe that efforts to continue to develop and integrate air and missile defense is an absolute priority for nations in the region,” he said.
Raytheon is also in discussions with Pakistan to supply SLAMRAAMs to the military.
“I was in meetings in Islamabad recently with the Joint Staff on a medium-range program, and we are in the process now of responding to a request for information and price and availability data to meet that requirement,” Garrett said. “We are looking at our SLAMRAAM system to meet that need for Pakistan.”
Garrett noted that Raytheon and Pakistan recently signed a $248 million deal for 500 AIM-120 (AMRAAM) missiles and 200 AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missiles for deployment on Pakistan’s F-16s. Delivery is expected to begin in 2008. It was the largest foreign order for AMRAAMs in the missile’s history.
“This is the first major joint procurement effort that the Pakistan military has sought out,” he said. “In the past, they’ve all been procurements by individual services. This is, in fact, a joint procurement to meet the air defense threat across services.”
Garrett also sees potential sales of SLAMRAAM in the GCC.
In addition, Raytheon is in discussions with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait about upgrading their Patriot-2 systems to PAC-3 standard.
Garrett said individual GCC members will move toward an integrated air defense network over time.
“The UAE has done a lot of the intellectual work on looking to the future for an integrated air defense,” he said. “I think that a sensor and surveillance network would be important. Also a C4I network. We need to find ways to link those capabilities together across the region.”
Countries in the region are also looking at interoperability in the region with U.S. military forces in the area.
Raytheon recently completed an upgrade to Turkey’s HAWK system with the HAWK XXI system, and there are discussions with GCC members, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, to upgrade their systems to HAWK XXI standards.
“We’ve given briefings on HAWK XXI and we have a very active HAWK program here in the UAE,” Garrett said.
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are in discussions with Raytheon on the PAC-3 missiles and upgrades of the PAC-2 to PAC-3 standard.
“We’ve had discussions and both countries have asked for detailed information about how to move forward and they will move at their own pace,” he said. “I expect it will be relatively short-term. Within the next year or two.”