Engineers at the Raytheon Co. Missile Systems segment in Tucson, Ariz., are developing a high speed, long-range air-to-air missile able to shoot down high-performance aircraft, cruise missiles, and air defense targets under terms of a $21.3 million contract announced Monday from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va.
The contract is for the DARPA Triple Target Terminator (T3) program to develop the T3 advanced air-to-air missile that would be carried internally on stealth jet bombers, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, or the Boeing F-15-SE Silent Eagle, as well as externally on conventional jet fighters, bombers, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
For the T3 program, Raytheon experts will concentrate on the program's prime enabling technologies, including propulsion, multi-mode seekers to defeat countermeasures, data links, digital guidance and control, and advanced missile warheads.
DARPA officials say the future T3 missile will be designed to enable any aircraft to switch rapidly between air-to-air and air-to-surface capabilities. T3's speed, maneuverability, and network-centric capabilities would improve U.S. aircraft survivability and increase the number and variety of targets that could be destroyed on each sortie.
Raytheon will do the work in Tucson, Ariz., and Gainesville, Va., and should be finished with this phase of research and development by October 2011.