Raytheon's single modified tactical Standard Missile-3 launches from a Navy cruiser in a shot dating to February 2008. The missile is part of the new product line. U.S. NAVY NEWS FILE PHOTO

Aiming to put a finer focus on its missile-defense business, Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems has established a new product line with existing production and developmental weapon systems.

The new Air and Missile Defense Systems product line includes existing missile-defense programs such as the Standard Missile-3 sea-based system and the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle, a non-explosive warhead that is part of a land-based system, Raytheon said.

It also includes development programs such as the Network Centric Airborne Defense Element, an effort to adapt smaller, air-launched missiles to a missile-defense role using sophisticated networking technologies.

"Missile defense is a major component of the company's portfolio," Raytheon Missile Systems President Taylor Lawrence said in prepared remarks. "This move positions us for greater customer and mission focus, which will lead to even higher quality and execution."

Raytheon spokesman John Patterson said the move also would give the U.S. Missile Defense Agency one main point of contact at the company.

Leading the new product line is Vice President Frank Wyatt, formerly vice president over Missile Systems' naval weapon systems. Rick Nelson, formerly vice president of operations, is now vice president for naval weapons.

Previously, some Raytheon missile-defense programs were based within various product lines from which they evolved. For example, the Standard Missile-3 - adapted from the Standard Missile series of ship-defense weapons for a sea-based missile-defense role - was part of the company's naval-weapons line. The Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle was a stand-alone product line.

A financial analyst said the product-line addition makes sense, given Raytheon's emphasis on its missile-defense systems.

"I think it clarifies the missile business that they have, dividing all the missiles they have into tactical and missile defense," said Paul Nisbet, a principal in Sarasota, Fla.-based JSA Research. "Missile defense is quite a bit more complex and very much in the news."

Last year the Pentagon and the Obama administration scrapped one system of large land-based missile interceptors and scaled back another ground system in favor of deploying more sea-based SM-3s and developing a land-based version of the missile.

Nisbet said Missile Systems' new product line organization may help foster more direct top-level communication with the Missile Defense Agency - and show that the company is a major player in missile defense.

"I think they just want to show they are a force in the industry in missile defense," Nisbet said.


Raytheon Missile Systems is Southern Arizona's largest employer, with more than 11,500 full-time-equivalent employees at the end of 2008, according to the Star 200 survey of the region's major employers. The new Star 200 survey will be published April 11 in the Arizona Daily Star.


Raytheon is the main sponsor of the 8th Annual U.S. Missile Defense Conference and Exhibit, scheduled for Monday through Wednesday of next week at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

Hosted by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the event will cover the current state of the worldwide ballistic-missile-defense system, including a review of national policies, service priorities, technical advances and related issues, according to the AIAA.

U.S. security clearance is required for the event, and recording devices and note-taking are forbidden.

Contact Assistant Business Editor David Wichner at dwichner@ azstarnet.com or 573-4181.