Analysts say Raytheon is likely one of the best-positioned to profit because it has a hand in the entire U.S. missile protection programs at present fielded. There are 4: Raytheon’s Patriot, Lockheed THAAD and Aegis programs, and Boeing’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD). The latter is the only homeland platform in place to guard America in opposition to an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) assault.
Raytheon is the prime contractor for Patriot, however it additionally makes the 50,000-pound TPY-2 radar utilized in THAAD, the Normal Missiles utilized in Aegis, and the exo-atmospheric kill autos that allow the homeland system to “hit a bullet with a bullet.”
These kill autos sit inside interceptors positioned in underground fields in Alaska and California. When an interceptor launches, the kill automobile makes use of “hit-to-kill” expertise to focus on a warhead in area — then smashing into it at greater than 10,000 miles per hour, pulverizing the menace upon impression.
Raytheon just lately acquired an almost $500 million Pentagon contract to design a brand new improve of that automobile. It assessments key elements at its area manufacturing facility in Tucson, Arizona, the place rooms formatted to 16-degrees Kelvin (about -460 levels Fahrenheit) simulate the circumstances of area.
At the moment, missile protection receives a wholesome quantity of skepticism, particularly the GMD, given a spotty success rate. Nevertheless, Raytheon and Boeing each say the expertise is consistently evolving, pointing to the 2 most up-to-date back-to-back intercepts which have been deemed profitable.
Contractors are experimenting with new sorts of expertise, as properly, together with Hypersonics, and directed vitality and lasers, to call a couple of. The driving mantra: A “layered” method to missile protection. But there isn’t any one magic bullet, with vulnerabilities by means of the so-called missile protection defend.
“Missile protection serves a vital piece of a a lot bigger portfolio and the fitting means to take a look at all of that is as shopping for time, creating choices, lowering stress, and supporting the general deterrence and protection posture of the US,” missile protection professional Karako defined.
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