Raytheon Warhead Production to Resume, Winnefeld Says
July 11, 2014
by Tony Capaccio
Raytheon Co. (RTN) will resume production of warheads for the Pentagon’s ground-based missile defense system by July 31 after the first successful interception of a dummy incoming missile since 2008, according to the military’s No. 2 official.
The successful test last month validated the “extensive and, I would say, exquisite engineering work” the U.S. Missile Defense Agency put into finding and fixing previous flaws, Admiral James Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview in which he disclosed the plans to resume production.
It will be the first tangible step in expanding to 44 from 30 the number of interceptors in Alaska and California intended to protect the U.S. if North Korea or Iran deploy intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The expansion was announced last year by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who made it contingent on the successful interception by the latest model warhead, which failed two tests in 2010. A third test, using an earlier model made by Waltham, Massachusetts-based Raytheon, failed in July 2013.
“We are going to move ahead” because the June 22 interception of a mock missile “was just as smooth as it could be,” he said. The warhead “did everything it was supposed to do — all the little maneuvers. It executed perfectly.”
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