News / USA

Raytheon Plans to Resume Warhead Production

A Raytheon Co. ‘kill vehicle’ separates from a rocket and hits a dummy incoming warhead in a test at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, June 22, 2014.
A Raytheon Co. ‘kill vehicle’ separates from a rocket and hits a dummy incoming warhead in a test at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, June 22, 2014.
Reuters
Defense contractor Raytheon Co. expects it soon will resume production of an updated warhead, or "kill vehicle,"' used for U.S. homeland missile defense after the system successfully intercepted a dummy target over the Pacific this weekend.
 
"There are no other hurdles that we're aware of, so we expect that we will go into production shortly,"' Wes Kremer, the firm's vice president of air and missile defense systems told reporters on a teleconference call Monday.
 
Raytheon, with global headquarters in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts, is a subcontractor to Boeing Co. on the ground-based midcourse defense system. The system protects the United States against long-range ballistic missiles and is projected to cost a total of $41 billion.
 
In Sunday's test, the system hit a simulated enemy missile for the first time since 2008.
 
The test validated the revamped design of the kill vehicle, which ideally separates from the ground-based interceptor and hits an incoming warhead, Kremer said.

He acknowledged the Missile Defense Agency had not officially notified Raytheon about resuming production.

Missed targets previously
 

The Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle Capability Enhancement II, EKV CE-II, had failed to hit its target in two previous flight tests in 2010. Nonetheless, it’s carried by 10 of the 30 U.S. interceptors already in silos in Alaska and California.
 
An earlier version, the CE-I, is on the remaining 20 interceptors. It failed its last intercept test in July 2013, but the government says it expects to correct the related problem by year's end.
 
Reuters reported Friday that the Pentagon is restructuring its $3.48 billion contract with Boeing for management of the missile defense system to emphasize maintenance and reliability.
 
Kremer confirmed the report but declined comment on negotiations between the government and Boeing, or the possible timing of a new agreement.
 
He said the kill vehicles in use now were designed to be autonomous, but technology advances would allow the new warhead to be more tightly integrated into the overall U.S. missile defense system.

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Comments
     
by: Mark from: Virginia
June 24, 2014 7:28 AM
More money being flushed down a toilet. Instead of building trust, we are still building rockets and bombs. Instead of opening dialogue with countries to work out our differences and problems, we are being forced to open our wallets for more weapons.

I'm all in favor of a strong military for the defense of our borders, but if we focused on rebuilding trust and cooperation with the rest of the world, then a strong military would not be needed for protection (though a smaller military would), and we could use the money that would have been spent on missile technology and advancements in tank and artillery design to help improve the lives of the people living in this country.

Spend less time and money propping up tottering, uncooperative governments abroad and more time and money strengthening the lives of the American people. But, no, lets keep manufacturing missiles that fail to intercept and destroy incoming dummy missiles and spend billions more trying to fix something that obviously is broke.

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