DSEi 2011: Raytheon nears Talon production contract
Raytheon is in discussion with the UAE government for a production contract of its Talon laser-guided rocket following qualification tests on a US Army AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter, it has been revealed.
At the DSEi exhibition in London on 13 September the company announced it had completed testing of Talon, which is being developed under a cooperative development agreement with Emirates Advanced Investment Group, from Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.
Richard Rhinehart, Raytheon director of international business, confirmed to Shephard that the July tests had resulted in seven direct hits from the Apache.
He said the Talon was now ready for production and negotiations for a launch contract with the UAE are ongoing.
While Rhinehart was unable to comment on likely specifications or order numbers in terms of any UAE contract, he said the Talon had been tested at both longer and shorter ranges in comparison to the US Navy’s Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS).
According to Raytheon, the tests included firing from hovering and moving platforms and engagement of targets from 1.2 km to 6.0 km ranges. The company claims Talon is the only laser-guided rocket kit that has achieved an air-launched direct hit from a range of 1.2 km.
The seven test flights, which were conducted using production configuration, included two tactical warhead shots.
Talon is one of a number of offerings that comprise semi-active laser guidance and control kit that connects directly to the front of 2.75-inch unguided rockets.
Rhinehart said there was a ‘ready upgrade path’ for a lock on before launch version of Talon for those customers that wanted such a variant.
The nature of the conflict in Afghanistan has placed a premium on precision and contained effect, leading many companies to develop such guidance kits for in-service rockets such as the Hydra 70 as a low-cost alternative to the Hellfire missile.
However, the US Army, the largest potential user of such a solution, transferred the APKWS II contract to the US Navy in 2008.
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