21 Dec 12. Raytheon Co. has fallen almost 900 missiles behind in deliveries of the military’s most advanced air-to-air weapon to the U.S. Air Force, Navy and allies because of a subcontractor’s difficulties manufacturing motors. The delayed weapons are the newest version of the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile. They are intended for deployment to Air Force fighter wings and Navy aircraft carriers once testing is done and they are declared combat-ready. Raytheon was to have delivered about 1,800 missiles as of last month, according to Air Force figures. The missile “is a critical tool of several nations’ air forces, most importantly our own,” Lieutenant General Charles Davis, the military deputy for Air Force acquisition, said in an e-mail statement. Since February, the Air Force had withheld $438m in payments from Waltham, Massachusetts-based Raytheon, the world’s largest missile maker. On Dec. 11, the service reached agreement with Raytheon on a revised delivery schedule that lifts the payment suspension and triggers an initial $104m payment that’s now being processed, according to an Air Force statement. The $104m is likely to be paid by Dec. 31, Air Force spokesman Charles Gulick said in an e-mailed statement. The remaining money will be paid as fully assembled missiles are delivered, he said. The company is required to get back on schedule by mid-2014, according to the Air Force statement. The agreement also provides extended warranty coverage by Raytheon. Some of the missiles that have yet to be provided were ordered in fiscal 2008 for delivery by Sept. 30, 2011, according to Air Force data. The missiles have been delayed because Alliant Techsystems Inc., a Raytheon subcontractor, has had difficulties producing the correct blend of rocket-motor propellant, according to the Air Force.
“Motor issues with components produced by ATK remain unresolved,” the Air Force said in the statement.
In the U.S., Raytheon had delivered 525 of a required 723 missiles as of Nov. 30. The company has provided 369 of 1,066 missiles to customers such as Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, Finland, South Korea, Morocco, Chile, Jordan, Kuwait, Singapore and Turkey, according to the service. The Air Force is pressing Raytheon on the missile deliveries as the Pentagon puts in place “Better Buying Power 2.0,” an initiative intended to improve contractor performance and lower the costs of major weapons programs. The Defense Department has pledged to expand incentives for exceptional performance while making contractors more accountable for lagging efforts. (Source: Bloomberg)
26 Dec 12. Northrop Grumman Corporation recently supported the successful flight testing of the U.S. Air Force’s Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) weapon system last month. The tests demonstrate and support assessment of the accuracy, availability and reliability of the weapon system. This launch also marked the first test of a refurbished MK21 arming and fuzing assembly. The operational test was designated “Glory Trip 206GM” and proceeded as planned with the missile traveling approximately 4,800 miles in 30 minutes from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., to the Ronald Reagan Test Site in the Kwajalein Atoll in the western chain of the Marshall Islands.