x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Laser-guided rocket on target

Production is likely to start in the coming months on a laser-guided rocket system jointly developed by Raytheon and a local Emirati company.

A laser-guided rocket system jointly developed by Raytheon and an Emirati company will be ready for production in the coming months after successful operational demonstrations.

Production is likely to start in either the UAE or the US, say officials.

The Talon system of laser-guided rockets is fitted on to existing legacy rockets, allowing them to be much more accurate against land and air targets. The system is being developed by Raytheon, a US defence and aerospace firm, and Emirates Advanced Investments (EAI).

"This successful demonstration shows that our cooperative design efforts have resulted in a precision system that is now ready to produce for customers worldwide," said Hussain Al Hammadi, the chairman of EAI Group.

During the demonstration, pilots in AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters fired the missiles at stationary and moving targets.

"Our goal has always been to develop the best possible laser-guided rockets solution with our trusted partners in the UAE," said Michelle Lohmeier, the vice president of Raytheon's land combat product line. "This programme establishes a cornerstone for our future business development cooperation."

Raytheon says the partnership is unique, as it involves a weapon system being developed jointly with a foreign country for export.

It is also cements Raytheon's commitment to helping to develop local expertise in the UAE, one of the company's highest-spending customers.

Raytheon's presence in the country has steadily grown since 2008, when the company signed a deal worth up to US$3.8 billion (Dh13.95bn) for the Patriot missile defence shield.

tarnold@thenational.ae

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