Raytheon Hopes To Benefit From Loosened U.K. Missile Rules
Britain could be softening its stance on sourcing missile technology from just a select group of local producers, which would open new opportunities for Raytheon, according to Taylor Lawrence, the company’s Missile Systems division president.
“I’m encouraged. It appears that some areas of missile technology are being opened back up to competition and we are waiting to see what the Ministry of Defence will do to allow us to compete fairly for significant opportunities,” Taylor said at the Farnborough International Airshow.
“We have also heard the new leadership in the MoD is showing a bigger openness to technology being brought to the table, especially if there is U.K. content,” he said.
Britain closed down much of the local missile market to foreign companies in the wake of the Labour Government’s 2005 defense industrial strategy, handing a near monopoly to MBDA, Thales UK and others in a grouping known as Team Complex Weapons (CW).
The concept has been much modified since then, although the basic premise for its creation — the sustainment of sovereign skill and capabilities through restriction of market access — prevails.
Although Raytheon has a significant missile industrial and market presence in Britain, the company declined to join Team-CW. In part, it was said at the time, due to anti-trust concerns.
“Actually I don’t think Team CW has cost us anything at the present time other than probably some development funds into our business here in the UK,” Taylor said.
Taylor said he saw the next opportunity to sell technology to Britain might be Raytheon’s trimode seeker technology being used on the Small Diameter Bomb II program for the U.S. military.
MBDA is assessing a similar U.K. air-to-ground program known as Spear 3.
“We can bring some incredible technology to the table for war fighters and I think we should be allowed to do that and not just be shut out of the market. That’s one of the complaints we have had about Team CW all along. It seemed to be shutting out competition and technology opportunities for the MoD,” Taylor said.
Could introduction of trimode seeker and other technology include partnership with MBDA?
Taylor said he hadn’t ruled that out if it’s the right solution for the two companies and the customer.
“We are always open to partnership … if it brings value for us and them and is the right solution for the customer then we would be open to discussion. I don’t know if they would be willing to talk to me but we are always open to discussion,” Taylor said.
The company continues to supply the British military with weapons that predate the Team CW agreement such as the advanced, medium-range, air-to-air missile, along with Javelin, Tomahawk and Paveway IV.
It recently received a post-Libya campaign top-up order for the Paveway IV weapon used by the Royal Air Force and expects a replenishment deal for the submarine-launched Tomahawk
“The company is in exploratory discussion with the U.K. on Tomahawk right now,” Taylor said.
Raytheon is trying to encourage the British to merge its order with an upcoming U.S. Navy buy.
“We would need to take a decision in the next couple of years to take advantage of the USN order,” he said.
The Missile System’s president said the effort to sell the Paveway IV to Saudi Arabia remained blocked by the U.S. State Department.
“We have a customer who really wants this capability and we have been under contract now for almost two years to provide that.”
“There have been a lot of discussions in our State Department about allowing that capability to go forward. I am hoping that can be resolved at some point and in terms of what is in theater now it’s a technology that is reasonably well deployed,” Lawrence said.
The precision-guided bomb was developed by Raytheon in the U.K. and U.S. for the Royal Air Force and has been widely used in Afghanistan and Libya.