Raytheon offers airborne radar for India's homeland security

Published 11 February 2009

India is paying more attention — much more attention — to homeland security in the wake of the November 2008 Mumbai bombing; among the first priorities is securing the very long coast lines of the country; Raytheon, already a presence in India, stands to benefit

India is paying much more attention to the security of its coastline in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, and U.S. defense company Raytheon is positioning its airborne standoff radar (ASTOR) as the ideal solution for the country’s homeland security. “This may be something of interest to India. There’s a lot of opportunity here,” Mike Henchey, Raytheon’s vice president for space and airborne systems, said. Pointing to the success achieved by the British defense ministry in operating the system, Henchey, who is in India for Aero India-2009 that opened today, said he hoped to discuss its benefits with Indian officials during the five-day international air show.

The ASTOR system, Raytheon says, provides a highly effective 24-hour surveillance and target acquisition capability. It delivers wide area, all weather surveillance and reconnaissance imagery in near real time for peacekeeping, war fighting and homeland security needs. Raytheon, which has had a presence in India for the past sixty years, views India’s new policy for procuring military hardware as an opportunity for building long term partnerships that would benefit the country economically and industrially. “We see the offsets clause as an opportunity for partnerships and we would be very pleased to work with our partners here,” Henchey pointed out. “We see it as a long-term benefit for India. We have a great future together from the economic and industrial standpoint,” he added.

Sify News reports that the offsets clause in the Defense Procurement Procedure-2008 (DPP-2008) enunciated last year mandates the reinvestment in India of 30 percent of all defense deals valued at over Rs 3 billion. “We see it as an opportunity to pave the way for the exchange of technical know-how,” Henchey said, adding: “We are open to joint development (of products) and are talking to a lot of people and government (about this).”

Toward this, Raytheon has already signed memoranda of understanding with eight Indian companies: Tata Power, Larsen & Toubro, Godrej & Boyce, Data Patterns, Precision Electronics, Astra Microwave, and Amphenol India in the private sector and with state-owned Bharat Electronics Ltd. “We are still in discussions with these companies and therefore have not yet finalized the specifics of our agreements. Broadly speaking, we do expect the work will likely be in the areas of electronics manufacturing and defense services,” said Ron Colman, Manager (Integrated Communications) at Raytheon SAS.

The company, which provided the antenna, transmitter, analog receiver, and software for Mini-RF sensor system aboard India’s ongoing maiden moon mission Chandrayaan-1, is also a partner in two big-ticket defense deals. The first of these relates to an Indian Air Force order for 126 combat jets, with Raytheon supplying radars and missiles for the two US aircraft that are in the fray - the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Lockheed Martin F-16IN Super Viper.

This apart, Raytheon missiles are mounted on two other aircraft in the running: the Swedish Grippen and the Eurofighter Typhoon that is manufactured by a four-nation European consortium. The other two aircraft are the French Rafale and the Russian MiG-35. The two U.S. aircraft come with the cutting-edge technology advanced extended search array (AESA) radar that enables the plane function in the manner of an airborne warning and control system (AWACS), greatly enhancing its battlefield capabilities. “For the missiles, we have the AMRAM, the Sidewinder, the Harm, the Paveway, and the Maverick. We have a great portfolio and we’re looking forward to that opportunity,” Henchey pointed out.

The other deal, which has already been signed, relates to the purchase of eight Boeing P8I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft by the Indian Navy. Raytheon will provide eight AN/APY-10 radars, plus spares, for the aircraft, pending final clearance of the contract from US authorities. “It’s not just the initial sale, we’re here for providing long-term support,” Henchey said.