DALLAS , Dec. 1, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- The Airborne Standoff Radar system developed by Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) for the U.K. Ministry of Defence has entered service with the Royal Air Force.
"Accepting ASTOR into service with the Royal Air Force represents the most significant milestone in the ASTOR project to date, with the U.K. armed forces receiving what is an entirely new operational capability," said Bill Chrispin , leader of the MoD ASTOR integrated project team. "Only through a strong working relationship between the MoD and Raytheon has the system matured into what we see today. The next stage in the ASTOR program is to deliver the system in its entirety to the RAF and to continue supporting the system through life, a challenge which the MoD and Raytheon are well set-up to meet in partnership."
The in-service date indicates that the system has two aircraft, two ground stations and two trained crews capable of supporting a brigade-level deployment. In total, Raytheon has delivered four aircraft, eight ground stations -- six for tactical purposes and two at the operational level -- and full mission support capabilities. The fifth and final aircraft is on track for delivery by the end of 2008.
"We are proud to reach this critical milestone with the RAF, the British Army and the MoD," said Jon Jones , president of Raytheon's Space and Airborne Systems business. "Now that the ASTOR system has been officially accepted and is in service, we are excited to see how its mission-critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities will benefit the men and women on the battlefield."
"The realization of the in-service date reflects the successful culmination of a sustained collaborative effort between Raytheon, our industry partners, and the U.K. MoD," said Brian McKeon , chief executive of Raytheon Systems Limited (RSL), the company's U.K. subsidiary. "ASTOR provides an unparalleled ISR capability that will underpin the operational superiority of the U.K. armed forces and their allies, both in the near term and for the foreseeable future."
The airborne element of the ASTOR system comprises five modified Bombardier Global Express aircraft. Dubbed Sentinel R Mk 1, each aircraft is equipped by Raytheon with a dual-mode (synthetic aperture and ground moving target indicator) radar. Integrated platform workstations aboard each aircraft allow mission management, imagery exploitation, and transmission of the imagery by secure data link to the operational and tactical ASTOR ground stations.
Following delivery of the fifth aircraft, the system will move into a role of full mission support provided by RSL. Raytheon integrated the ASTOR system in partnership with BAE Systems, Bombardier, CUBIC, General Dynamics, L-3 Communications, SELEX and Thales.
Raytheon Systems Limited is a prime contractor and major supplier to the U.K. Ministry of Defence and is involved in numerous, high-priority programs for the U.S. Department of Defense. RSL designs, develops and manufactures a range of high-technology defense and commercial electronic systems at its facilities in England , Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland .
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SOURCE Raytheon Company