Q&A: How Raytheon builds US Navy systems for air, land, sea and space
Navy leaders, government officials and industry leaders are gathering at the 30th Surface Navy Association National Symposium in Crystal City, Virginia, on Jan. 9-11. The theme of this year's show: “Surface Forces and Cross-Domain Integration."
We sat down with Tom Copeman, a retired three-star admiral who commanded the U.S. Navy’s surface ships and is now a Raytheon vice president, to discuss the topic and how the company’s systems operate in and across the air, land, sea and space domains.
What is “cross-domain integration,” and why is it important?
Military forces operate in the land, air, surface, subsurface, space and cyber domains. The surface navy has always worked across all these domains simultaneously. Something that's of great interest now—at the combatant command level—is the limited magazine depth across the U.S. Department of Defense. The budget to procure more weapons is shrinking, because they’re spending most of their procurement on platforms such as ships, planes, submarines, bombers, tankers and UAVs, and not necessarily on weapons.
So, there’s a quest to understand how to use existing weapons in a different way to get more utility out of them and how to enable integration of these systems to go farther and move across the domains.
What are some Raytheon systems that operate across domains?
The current version of the Tomahawk cruise missile can operate in a couple of domains, and it can cross domains, from surface into land, striking long-range targets ashore. It can also be synthetically guided into maritime targets.
Standard Missile-6 is another great example of a Raytheon product that operates near exo-atmospheric, or out of the atmosphere, in the theatre ballistic missile defense role. It's primarily a surface-to-air role, and it also has a surface-to-surface role.
It has also been publicized that next summer, the U.S. Army will test the Naval Strike Missile, or NSM, in a demonstration from land to surface to sink a ship. That’s an example of cross-service cooperation to maximize existing systems for new missions.
What other Raytheon systems contribute beyond weapons?
Raytheon produces key components for the anti-submarine and mine warfare mission modules on littoral combat ships and systems for undersea surveillance.
The company’s Multi-Spectral Targeting System is installed on the MH60 helicopters which populate surface ships as well.
Raytheon’s Air and Missile Defense Radar, officially known as SPY-6(V), is the Navy’s next-generation integrated air and missile defense radar. The SPY-6 radar enhances the Navy’s ability to detect, identify and track air, surface and ballistic missile threats, delivering more than 30 times the sensitivity of the currently deployed SPY-1D radar.
It also produces the APY-10 radar for the P8 maritime patrol aircraft, which integrates closely with carrier strike groups and surface ships.
The U.S. Army uses a naval missile, the NSM. Should we expect more cross-service cooperation in the future?
Absolutely. When I think of the Pacific theater, the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Army, and to a lesser extent the U.S. Marines, team up to understand how they can control the battlespace in this vast area of islands, U.S. territories, allies and aircraft carrier strike groups. It’s literally hundreds of thousands of square miles to pick and choose from where to dominate, because you certainly can’t do it all and be everywhere all the time.
Why is Raytheon uniquely positioned to enable cross-domain integration for the Navy?
Raytheon has a long history of working with and supplying weapons for the Navy, such as the Standard Missile-2, RAM weapon system, SeaRAM missile system, ESSM guided missile, Tomahawk and potentially NSM.
The company understands the customer’s call for gaining more capability from its existing weapons, essentially getting more bang for its buck. Taking steps like making SM-6 a triple-mission weapon, developing Maritime Strike Tomahawk and bringing on NSM, which operates in both the land and sea domains—these are great examples of how Raytheon has listened to the customer and added capability to existing weapons systems for modest price increases.
What are Raytheon’s next steps to help its customers advance technology with limited budgets?
As we move into the 2020s, the company will likely take advantage of artificial intelligence and autonomy as well as unmanned aerial surface and subsurface vehicles, from the sensor, connectivity and effector standpoints.
We will work with our DOD customers across a wide array of technologies to assist in the implementation of the third offset strategy. These include hypersonics, unmanned vehicles, non-kinetic weapons as well as cyber.