PAS 2011: Griffin finds a home at US SOCOM
Raytheon has secured regular funding for its Griffin B Block II missile, with the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) incorporating the lightweight missile into its FY2012 budget.
Speaking at the Paris Air Show, Harry Schulte, Raytheon vice president for air warfare systems, said production has so far been funded in block purchases by SOCOM and the US Marine Corps but the missile’s inclusion under the Stand-Off Operations Precision Guided Munition (SOPGM) funding stream provided some production certainty.
The company has adapted its Tucson, Arizona, facility to handle up to 100 units a month following a production floor upgrade in 2009.
While some $40 million has been allocated for the SOPGM funding line, it is unclear what proportion will be devoted to Griffin.
Raytheon is taking a fresh look at the missile’s potential rotary-wing application and plans to move into phase II of integration later in 2011, culminating in a live-fire demonstration for the US Army from a OH-58D.
Schulte argued that the development of the Modular Smart Launcher (MSL) greatly simplified installation on a helicopter, with the missile offering a significant weight advantage over the Hellfire.
Griffin was originally a company-funded design for the SOCOM and has been launched from the MC-130W 'Dragon Spear' gunship.
A 33 lb munition measuring 43 inches in length, the Griffin Block II B Missile comprises less than half the weight of a Hellfire round and includes a 13 lb warhead. To date, it has also been fired from the US Army Remote Weapon Station, multi-round Wedge launcher and Kiowa Warrior manned helicopter.
Designed as an air and ground launched, low-collateral damage weapon for 'irregular warfare operations', Griffin Block II comprises semi-active laser seeker, fuze, warhead, motor and control actuator system. It relies on either GPS coordinates, inertial navigation or laser designation and an operator is able to switch between height-of-burst, point detonation and delayed fuzes in 'seconds' before firing. A multiple-round-simultaneous-impact capability is also available.
The 'A' round is designed as an aft-eject missile, designed for integration on aircraft and the 'B' round as a forward-firing missile which can be fired from unmanned, rotary-wing and ground platforms.
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