Raytheon wins job to build lightweight missiles for attack UAVs and special-ops aircraft
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., 14 Jan. 2016. Raytheon Co. will provide the U.S. Air Force with air-to-ground lightweight missiles for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), small ships, and special-operations utility aircraft under terms of an $85 million contract announced Wednesday.
Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., are asking the Raytheon Missile Systems segment in Tucson, Ariz., for AGM-176 Griffin missiles and support. The company will provide Griffin A and B Block II/III missiles with test and support equipment.
Griffin is a small, lightweight GPS-aided-inertial- or laser-guided missile designed originally for special operations aircraft. It has a relatively small 13-pound warhead to keep collateral damage to a minimum. The missile is nearly four feet long, 5.5 inches in diameter, and weighs 45 pounds.
The multi-platform, multi-service weapon homes in on its target by following signals from a laser-designation system or by satellite navigation signals from orbiting GPS satellites and inertial gyros.
Aircraft that can fire the missile include the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper fixed-wing unmanned aircraft; the MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter; the A-29 Super Tucano ground-attack turboprop aircraft; the KC-130J Harvest HAWK, MC-130W Dragon Spear, and AC-130J Ghostrider special operations aircraft; the Cyclone-class patrol ship; and the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor.
Aircraft can carry three Griffin missiles in the space required by the AGM-114 Hellfire missile, which is the typical armament of UAVs like the Predator and Reaper.
Griffin has a blast-fragmentation warhead that users can set for height of burst, point detonation, or fuze delay. Its targets include fast-moving small attack boats, light vehicles, or unreinforced command posts and radar stations.
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Griffin comes in four variants: Griffin A is an aft-eject missile; Griffin B is a forward-firing missile; Griffin C has dual-mode guidance and in-flight retargeting; and Griffin C-ER is an extended-range missile. Griffin production started in 2008.
Raytheon will do the work on this sole-source contract in Tucson, Ariz., and should be finished by January 2017. For more information contact Raytheon Missile Systems online at www.raytheon.com, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at www.wpafb.af.mil/aflcmc.