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Raytheon aims Talon Laser Guided Rocket at Foreign and Domestic Customers

AH-64 launching Raytheon's TALON Laser Guided Missile

AUSA National Meeting and Exhibition
October 2014

In August of this year Raytheon Missile Systems announced that it had received a $117 million contract award – a Direct Commercial Sale -- for integration of the company’s TALON laser guided rocket system into the UAE Armed Forces to include logistics, training and warranty support installation on the UAE’s AH-64D Apache helicopter.

DSJ spoke on Wednesday at AUSA with Darryl Kreitman, Raytheon’s TALON program director. Here’s the ten things you need to know about the TALON system, its development, and outlook:

1.       Co-developed with the UAE over the past several years, the TALON LGR is a low-cost, digital semi-active laser guidance and control kit for the legacy 2.75 inch Hydra-70 unguided rocket using standard M260/261 launchers. 

2.    A 31-pound, lock-on-after-launch rocket guided via on-board, off-board or ground laser designators, TALON integration requires no hardware or software modifications to the launcher or aircraft.

3.       TALON can provide a broad-range (1.2-6 km), high precision/low collateral damage capability to any platform that currently employs unguided Hydra rockets.

4.       TALON’s roots are in Raytheon’s past pursuit of the U.S. Army APKWS and the U.S. Navy/USMC’s APKWS II program awarded to BAE Systems. TALON development continued at Raytheon via internal funding.

5.       Raytheon recently completed nine company-funded TALON firings from an AH-64 Apache helicopter at the Yuma Proving Grounds earning a U.S. Army Air Worthiness Certification.  The company has also certified TALON for launch from MD Helicopters’ MD530F – via four recent launches -- and is seeking to do the same for the Bell 407.

6.       Raytheon can provide “full-up rounds”, but can also provide “do it yourself” TALON system kits for operators who already have Hydra rockets in inventory. 

7.   Raytheon has secured export clearance for the TALON to over thirty nations and transfers can take place via Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) or, with U.S. Army involvement, Foreign Military Sales (FMS). 

8.       Raytheon-funded evaluation of the TALON has stoked U.S. Army interest in the program and Raytheon believes that TALON could address Army needs for low-cost, high precision strike. 

9.       Raytheon “has a path to a lock-on-before-launch” for the TALON system, but such a capability would require modifications to the launch platforms and the company is not actively pursuing these modifications at present.

10.    Raytheon is also exploring and investing in options to integrate TALON into armored vehicles and for maritime vessels for the UAE market and beyond.  The company sees particular system application in the Pacific, where the TALON’s combination of low cost and high accuracy makes it attractive for a range of applications.