Air Force asks Raytheon to build lightweight missile to arm UAVs, surface warships, and aircraft
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – U.S. Air Force airborne weapons experts are asking the Raytheon Co. to build a lightweight missile and glide bomb that features low collateral damage and is suitable for launch from a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), military manned aircraft, and surface warships.
Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., announced a $104.9 million contract Thursday to the Raytheon Missile Systems segment in Tucson, Ariz., to build, test, and support the AGM-176 Griffin missile.
Griffin is a lightweight, precision-guided munition that can launch from the ground, from the air as a rocket-powered missile, or drop from the air as a guided bomb. It carries a relatively small 13-pound warhead for low-collateral damage, as well as for use in irregular warfare.
The munition comes in two versions. Griffin A is an unpowered precision munition that can be dropped by aircraft from a rear cargo door or a door-mounted launcher. Griffin Block II B is a short-range missile that can be fired from UAVs as well as manned helicopters, attack aircraft, U.S. Air Force AC-130W gunships, and U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J tankers.
It has been used in combat by the United States military in Afghanistan. The small munition offers GPS-aided inertial guidance and a semi-active laser seeker.
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Griffin is less than half the weight of a Hellfire round and has a 10-mile range when air-launched, and a 3-mile range when launched from the surface. Three Griffins can be carried in place of one Hellfire. The Griffin missile and launch assembly is also lighter than the Hellfire, allowing more to be mounted on the Predator.
The U.S. Navy has tested the Griffin as a laser-guided shipboard missile to attack fast-moving small boats. Raytheon also is developing the Griffin C with dual-mode guidance; and the Griffin C-ER, which will be an extended-range missile.
On Thursday's contract Raytheon will do the work in Tucson, Ariz., and should be finished by December 2018. 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.
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