Wowing the crowds at Paris
Battle control and cyber tech turn heads at air show
The Paris Air Show is the kind of place where big planes fly like fighter jets and fighter jets fly like dancers.
It's a place where a mammoth jetliner soars through a series of acrobatic dives and turns, while fighter pilots fly in tight formation and show off maneuvers that appear to defy physics.
And in a pavilion just steps from the flight line, experts from Raytheon showed off the latest developments in the company's defense and aerospace technology – missile-killing interceptors, hypersonic weapons, ultra-powerful radars, as well as a new approach to command and control. They also discussed strategies to protect machinery, vehicles and other systems from hackers, a major focus as Raytheon – long a go-to cybersecurity provider for government customers – becomes a commercial cyber leader as well.
"The evolving cyber threat from sophisticated nation-state adversaries and criminal enterprises has led to global demand for cybersecurity solutions," said Raytheon Chairman and CEO Thomas A. Kennedy. "The Paris Air Show affords us an ideal venue to show our international customers how our defense-grade cybersecurity technology can guard their military, commercial and critical infrastructure."
Raytheon’s showcase of products this year – many finding new niches in U.S.-allied countries around the world – included:
• C5I™ Products and Services: Raytheon is expanding the common military concept of C4I – command, control, communications, computers and intelligence – to emphasize another element: cyber. Company experts will be on hand to discuss how the United States and its allies can protect existing technology from cyber attacks and tie technologies together to work in concert with one another – both within a nation's military and across international coalitions.
• Global Patriot Solutions: Poland has selected Patriot for its “Wisla” air and missile defense program, and could become the sixth NATO nation and 14th overall to field the system. Those countries are reaping the benefits of joining a large network of Patriot users.
• Standard Missile-3: A new ground-launched version of the short-to-intermediate-range ballistic missile interceptor is scheduled to be operational in Romania later in 2015, and in Poland in 2018. SM-3, traditionally launched from ships, fired successfully from an Aegis Ashore weapon system in 2014.
• Hypersonic weapons: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency recently awarded Raytheon a $20 million contract to continue developing hypersonics, or highly maneuverable projectiles that can travel at speeds in excess of Mach 5 – five times the speed of sound.
• Excalibur: The 155 mm precision projectile, which can strike targets from 30 miles away when fired by modern launchers, has successfully fired from an M109A2/A3 howitzer, an early variant used by militaries around the world. During those tests, two rounds struck their targets from more than 20 kilometers, or 12 1/2 miles away. Excalibur is used by the United States Army, United States Marine Corps and several international military forces including Canada, Australia and Sweden. Raytheon has also signed a letter of intent with the Polish missile and ammunition manufacturer MESKO to collaborate on future Excalibur improvements.
• Next Generation Jammer: The newest addition to Raytheon's legacy of jammers, receivers, decoys and other electronic-warfare technology, Next Generation Jammer will use active electronically scanned arrays and gallium nitride technology to provide the U.S. Navy superior airborne electronic attack and jamming power. Next Generation Jammer is expected to fly on the Navy’s carrier-based EA-18G fleet in 2021.
• AMRAAM-ER: This missile has undergone further testing to show it can fire from the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, a NATO-approved launcher used by the United States, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands and Oman. Raytheon has integrated the motor from the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile into the AMRAAM-ER, enabling the new missile to intercept targets at longer ranges and higher altitudes.
• Small Diameter Bomb II: The newest version of this gliding, guided bomb – now in production – has a seeker that can switch modes depending on battlefield conditions, finding its targets through obstructions such as darkness, smoke, fog and debris.
The air show draws a mix of defense-industry decisionmakers and aviation enthusiasts, and it offers a complete look at the world of aircraft, missile defense technology and the systems that control and protect them.
“Both for the US but also for allies and partners in NATO, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East, it’s not just about the interceptors but the wider system of systems that makes missile defense work," said Thomas Karako, a senior fellow with the international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "You can’t just buy a bunch of interceptors and park them in the desert or on some island: it’s about the larger suite of sensors, command and control, and information and intelligence sharing that tells the interceptors where to go.”
Protecting those and other systems against cyber attack is becoming increasingly important, said Loren B. Thompson, a defense industry expert and chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute.
"Most people in the aerospace community have this set idea of what Raytheon is. And the reality is that it's becoming a lot more than its traditional image," Thompson said. "Raytheon is positioning itself to be the global leader in cybersecurity. You'll notice I did not say 'a' global leader.' I said 'the' global leader."