Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems says the company and partner L-3 Communications have successfully test-fired a laser-guided rocket developed with the United Arab Emirates, demonstrating its potential use for protecting ships.
In the recent test at the Yuma Proving Ground, Raytheon said, the Talon rocket was successfully fired from a remote weapon station made by New York-based L-3 using an existing launcher.
The test demonstrated that the lightweight, remote weapon system can provide protection for small ships by using the currently fielded launcher, sensor systems and Talon missiles, the company said.
The Talon is a semiactive laser guidance and control kit that connects directly to the front of 2.75-inch unguided rockets currently in U.S. and allied arsenals.
Designed to carry up to seven of the 2.75-inch diameter Talons, the self-contained remote rocket weapon system uses an electro-optical sensor and laser designator, all weighing about 500 pounds. The system can be mounted on ships ranging in size from small river boats to major surface warships, Raytheon said.
In November at the Dubai Air Show, officials announced that the general headquarters of the UAE armed forces awarded Tawazun Holding, a UAE industrial investment firm, a contract to procure Talons from Raytheon. Discussions regarding production under that contract are ongoing.
The U.S. Army is currently testing a similar laser-guided rocket kit developed by BAE Systems. In October, BAE announced that the Army had fired its Advanced Precision Weapon System from an AH-64D Apache helicopter for the first time. The BAE system already is qualified for use by two Marine Corps helicopters and has been tested on targets at sea by the Navy.
The Talon can be fired from the Apache attack helicopter, and Tawazun said in November that Raytheon was finalizing the airworthiness and qualification of the Talon system on Apaches operated by the UAE.