TALONS for a Tiger
Laser rockets for "tiger" vehicle latest in string of international partnerships
The United Arab Emirates-made NIMR armored vehicle could get a major firepower upgrade, under an effort between Raytheon and Abu Dhabi-based NIMR Automotive to outfit the rugged tactical platform with laser-guided rockets previously found only on helicopters and other aircraft.
The project to arm the NIMR – Arabic for "tiger" – with TALON rockets is the latest in a series of international partnerships that bring Raytheon's advanced engineering and innovation to U.S. allies worldwide. The collaboration was announced at the 2015 International Defence Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi.
“If you look at the world today, the countries we used to sell to, they’re not happy to buy products off the shelf any more,” said Steven C. Schultz, director of business development for land warfare systems at Raytheon Missile Systems. “They want to be true partners in terms of co-production, co-development, and in many cases be the prime contractor for some of these international pursuits.”
NIMR Automotive is a subsidiary of the Emirates Defence Industries Company. Raytheon and UAE industry previously partnered to develop TALON kits, which are used to modify older, unguided rockets into laser-seeking weapons.
Other recent international collaborations include:
- A partnership with Abu Dhabi Ship Building that provided the United Arab Emirates Navy with the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) and the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM). RAM is a lightweight, self-guided missile that travels faster than the speed of sound. ESSM is the world's premier international cooperative missile production program, with 18 industrial partners representing 10 nations.
- An agreement that designated Turkish missile maker Roket Sanavii ve Ticaret A.S. as a supplier for Raytheon’s Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missile-Tactical (GEM-T). The company, also known as Roketsan, is the first major trans-Atlantic supplier for the system and is strategically located to support countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
- A $1.7 billion Direct Commercial Sales contract in in Saudi Arabia to upgrade Patriot systems to the latest Configuration-3.
- A partnership with Lockheed Martin to provide the United Arab Emirates with advanced Patriot air and missile defense, along with support and training.
- The U.S. Army’s Warfighter Field Operations Customer Support contract, under which Raytheon trains helicopter pilots in Afghanistan. Students graduate as commercial-level pilots