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Raytheon's newest innovations have garnered attention from around the world. Media outlets are highlighting new capabilities the company has identified and matured, most notably in the areas of force protection, space sensing, search and rescue, and advanced robotics.
Protecting Soldiers in the Blink of the Eye
With its heading "Bullets That Shoot Bullets," TIME magazine gets to the heart of Raytheon's Active Protection System (APS), featured eighth among the magazine's "50 Best Inventions of 2008." TIME describes APS as "Star Wars for soldiers," noting it is designed to protect them from short-range attack while enabling the U.S. Army to develop vehicles requiring less armor.
APS uses vertical launch technology that launches an interceptor to shoot down rocket-propelled grenades or anti-tank guided missiles coming in
from any direction.
"Hitting bullets with bullets, so to speak, requires very complex and inventive technology," said Glynn Raymer, vice president of Raytheon's Network Centric Systems (NCS) Combat Systems business. "We view TIME's selection as reflective of the APS team's commitment to innovation, and its dedication to delivering the very best force protection technology to our soldiers."
Raytheon NCS and Missile Systems are developing APS with U.S. Army Future Combat Systems (FCS) One Team partners — the FCS Lead Systems Integration team of Boeing and Science Applications International, and BAE Systems.
Searching for Ice on the Moon Raytheon had a hand in another of TIME magazine's "Best Inventions of 2008." Number three on the list was NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), for which a Raytheon team led by Space and Airborne Systems (SAS) provided key components of the miniaturized-radio frequency system. The LRO is set for launch in spring 2009, and the mini-RF system will help to determine whether the polar regions of the moon contain ice.
Deposits of ice and water have a relatively large radar reflectivity and also a large circular polarization ratio. By bouncing a right-circular polarized signal off the lunar surface, then calculating the ratio of the right-circular polarized to the left-circular polarized return signals, areas of interest can be identified. The circular polarization ratio plus high radar reflectivity will give scientists possible locations of water deposits.
In October, a similar system known as Mini-SAR (for synthetic aperture radar) was launched aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, now in orbit around the moon. Both the LRO and Chandrayaan-1 missions will study and map the lunar surface in advance of possible manned missions to the moon.
Under contract to the U.S. Navy, Raytheon provided the antenna (see cover image), transmitter, analog receiver and software for the mini-RF system for both missions. The company also supplied systems engineering and integration and test support.
Raytheon's work on the mini-RF programs takes advantage of the company's experience in support of the U.S. Department of Defense's operationally responsive space initiative, which calls for smaller, less expensive satellites that can provide scientific or tactical information on an as-needed basis. Because of its low development cost and miniaturization, the mini-RF technology provides a wealth of sensing capabilities in a relatively inexpensive and easily adapted platform.
"The responsive space concept holds great promise for many kinds of future missions, and Raytheon is proud to extend its leading role in that future with the mini-RF payloads," said Bill Hart, vice president for SAS Space Systems. "We're excited to be applying the lessons from our experience in operationally responsive space to these important lunar exploration projects."
Breaching Concrete in Half the Time
Raytheon's advanced concrete breaking technology for urban search and rescue received a "Best of What's New 2008" award in the security category from the world's largest science and technology magazine, Popular Science.
Called the Controlled Impact Rescue Tool (CIRT), it uses shock waves to pulverize concrete. The tool removes the barrier material, which allows rescue workers faster access to victims.
"For 21 years, Popular Science's 'Best of What's New' awards honor the innovations that a make positive impact on life today and change our views of the future," said Mark Jannot, editor-in-chief of Popular Science. "PopSci's editors evaluate thousands of products each year to develop this thoughtful list; there's no higher accolade Popular Science can give."
CIRT's innovative design can shatter a concrete wall in 13 minutes, compared with more than 30 minutes for conventional methods.
"Less effective solutions require a lot more time to breach the concrete," said Guy DuBois, Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems (IIS) vice president of Operational Technologies and Solutions. "The CIRT decreases the breach time by 50 percent. That's life-saving news for a trapped victim."
CIRT was developed by IIS under the rapid technology application program of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate. The rapid breaching technology meets the need for increased speed in breaching concrete walls and barriers.
Inventing a Robotic Suit for the Solider of Tomorrow
Popular Science used the cover of its May 2008 issue to highlight a robotic suit Raytheon Sarcos is developing for the soldier of tomorrow. Known as an "exoskeleton," it is essentially a wearable robot that amplifies its wearer's strength and endurance.
The magazine likened the exoskeleton to the
Iron Man™ in the blockbuster movie of the same name, and suggested a blurring of the lines between science fiction and reality. The technology was also featured worldwide in print, television and the Internet — from the Boston Herald and the Daily Telegraph, to BBC News and CBS Sunday Morning, to Wired.com and YouTube.
Made of a combination of sensors, actuators and controllers, the futuristic suit enables a test engineer to easily carry a man on his back or lift 200 pounds several hundred times without tiring. Yet it is agile enough to play soccer and climb stairs and ramps without issue.
The suit is being developed for the U.S. Army. Stephen Jacobsen leads Raytheon Sarcos and this project. He says his work is a combination of art, science, engineering and design. "People call it different things. Sometimes they call it inventing, sometimes they call it engineering. Sometimes they call it being a mad scientist. To us, it's the process of getting together, understanding the problems, goals, and then designing something to satisfy the need."
Development of the exoskeleton has been underway since 2000 when Jacobsen realized that if humans could work alongside robots, they must also be able
to work inside robots.
MALD™ Wins 2008 Aviation Week Program Excellence Award
Aviation Week magazine has named Raytheon Company's Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD) the winner of the 2008 Program Excellence Award in the System Research and Development Category. MALD is a state-of-the-art, lowcost, air-launched programmable craft that weighs less than 300 pounds and has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles (about 575 statute miles). It is used to stimulate, deceive and confuse opposing air defense systems by generating radar target returns that appear as attacking manned aircraft flying typical flight paths. This forces difficult engagement decisions by opposition commanders who will have to decide if a tracked target is a manned aircraft or a low-cost decoy. The wrong decision will expose their own defensive elements and make them vulnerable to attack.
Iron Man is a trademark of Marvel Entertainment Group.
MALD is a trademark of Raytheon Company.