Raytheon, L-3 demonstrate new ship protection system

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Raytheon and L-3 Communications successfully demonstrated a vessel self-protection capability employing laser-guided rockets, that can be employed against swarming attacks of small fast boats.

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Raytheon’s TALON laser-guided rocket is fired from an L-3 Communications remote weapon station using an LAU-68 launcher demonstrating the system’s small-ship protection capability. Photo: Raytheon

fired Raytheon TALON laser-guided rockets from an L-3 remote weapon station using an LAU-68 launcher. The test demonstrated lightweight remote weapon systems such as L-3s’ Advanced Remote Weapon Station (ARWS) can provide extended range protection for small surface ships, by incorporating the currently fielded launcher, sensor systems and TALON laser guided rockets, that can be fired to an effective range of six kilometers.

The LAU-68D/A launched was designed to support the 2.75″ rockets and is currently used by the US Navy, carried by US Marine Corps and US Navy helicopters and jet fighters. The launcher that connects to the aircraft pylons or hardpoints packs seven rockets stored in launch tubes. It incorporates all safety and electrical initiation controls to enable the crew to control the number and sequence of rocket fire. When carrying the TALON laser guided variant of the Hydra, the LAU-68A/D becomes part of a powerful precision guided weapon system, along with the target acquisition system and laser designation source that can be operated remotely of the launching vehicle.

When employed on board ships the launcher can be operated remotely from the bridge, with rockets aimed at the general direction, followed by precision laser designation employed in the last few seconds before impact. “With the increase in swarming-boat threats, navies worldwide have an urgent need to protect their smaller ships,” said Rick Nelson, vice president of Raytheon’s Naval and Area Mission Defense product line. “Combining our proven TALON LGR with L-3’s Advanced Remote Weapon Station provides an affordable, effective and available solution. It also demonstrates our ability to reach across Raytheon’s wide portfolio of products and team with companies around the globe to develop new solutions.”

In a stand-alone configuration the system would carry up to seven TALONS, and equipped with remote an electro-optical sensor and laser designator mounted on the RWS pedestal. The entire system would weigh approximately 500 pounds (226 kg). According to Raytheon officials, the system requires only a target queue to engage on-mount target tracking and can be integrated on ships ranging in size from riverine to major surface combatants.