LONDON -- Raytheon is expecting a boom in international sales of its counter-UAS system already battle-tested with the U.S. Army.
The Howler system, which includes a Ku-Band Radio Frequency Sensor (KURFS), a command and control system and its Coyote unmanned aircraft system designed to take out enemy drones, should see an abundance of buyers soon. The system could also include a high energy laser defeat solution and a high-powered microwave capability to provide a non-kinetic approach to knocking drone threats out of commission, according to company officials.
"We have experienced quite a bit of interest from our international friends, partners and allies," James McGovern, Raytheon vice president of mission systems and sensors in its Integrated Defense Systems business, told Defense News in an interview at DSEI, a major defense exposition in London. "It's exploded, counter-unmanned aircraft systems is the in-vogue discussion on weapon space and solution set at every trade show we've been to. It's a nonstop revolving door of interested customers in our solutions," he said.
Over the past five years, drone threats -- cheap, commercial off-the-shelf ones -- have proliferated in use by the nefarious and doesn't just pose a threat on the battlefield but also in airports, sports stadiums, government buildings and other urban areas.
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Raytheon is preparing to reach initial operational capability with the U.S. Army of its Block II version of Coyote, which is a version that takes the Block I and makes it more missile-like in appearance, in the first quarter of calendar year 2020, according to Pete Mangelsdorf, director of the Coyote and rapid development programs within the land warfare systems portfolio at Raytheon.
In the meantime, the company is expecting congressional notification for a sale to its first foreign country soon, Mangelsdorf said.
Raytheon expects to see roughly 15 more countries issue letters of request for the Howler system to include Block II Coyote rapidly following, he added.
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The company has license to sell sensors separately abroad but, generally, customers are not just interested in what the sense-and-detect capability sensors would bring but in full-up systems that include all of Howler's elements.
But Raytheon's Howler system is flexible and can integrate into other systems as well as other platforms, according to McGovern. Currently, Howler is on a U.S. Army truck platform, but it could easily be integrated onto a pallet at a fixed-site or mounted on a different truck depending on customer needs, McGovern said.
The U.S. Army system was developed in response to a joint urgent operational need statement to find something that could counter drones as well as the rockets, artillery and mortar threat, according to Mangelsdorf. The Block I version of the Coyote, which looks more like a plane or loitering munition than a missile, was the interim capability in response to the JUONS.
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The system is scalable in size. McGovern said Raytheon has used its Gallium-Nitride (GaN) technology to scale the radar array down while maintaining range and detection sensitivity and fitting it onto a smaller vehicle in the event a customer has a need for increased mobility like in the case of special operations forces.
The radar has the ability to see not only singular drones but to identify drone swarms with high fidelity. Other radars might just pick up a drone swarm as one big blob, McGovern noted.