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Vigilant Eagle Incorporates New Technology For Urban Warfare

NASAMS truck launcher.
by Staff Writers
Tucson AZ (SPX) May 18, 2006
Raytheon recently developed a version of the Vigilant Eagle Airport Protection System that employs the fire distribution center (FDC) of the Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS).

The NASAMS FDC is a capable, fielded and mature air defense system that can now serve as Vigilant Eagle's command and control (C2) component that operates the airport protection system's electromagnetic countermeasure to divert threatening missiles away from aircraft.

Vigilant Eagle is a ground-based electromagnetic energy system designed to actively protect all aircraft flying in and out of airports from surface-to-air missiles.

"This adds a field-proven command and control component to Vigilant Eagle, offering improved technical maturity to the system," said Mike Booen, vice president of Directed Energy Weapons at Raytheon Missile Systems.

"We have selected an operating command and control system that is successfully used today in both military and urban environments."

The NASAMS FDC has been in military use since 1994 and was recently deployed to protect Washington, D.C., from an airborne attack. In this role, the FDC can track and identify all objects in the capital's airspace, operate with existing civilian systems, discriminate friendly versus hostile objects and recommend appropriate action in the event of an attack.

The U.S. Army's Surface Launched Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (SLAMRAAM) system also under development by Raytheon builds upon proven NASAMS technology so that the SLAMRAAM system is capable of providing the next generation of command and control for Vigilant Eagle.

SLAMRAAM's FDC functionality is highly similar to that required by Vigilant Eagle's C2 subsystem that must identify, discriminate and engage shoulder-fired missile threats.

By leveraging the existing technology of the NASAMS FDC, Raytheon will be able to adapt the Vigilant Eagle system to an urban environment while dramatically reducing the cost.

All Vigilant Eagle's subsystems have successfully been demonstrated as individual components. With the incorporation of NASAMS FDC, Vigilant Eagle is now immediately available for demonstration in an urban environment.

The FDC currently receives radar and tracking information from a grid of civilian and military radars. Addition of the Vigilant Eagle infrared missile detect and track subsystem would prove interoperability in an urban environment and low false alarm rate.

Vigilant Eagle has been proven effective against the MANPADS threat in field testing. It is a ground-based system that protects all aircraft at an airport, with no additional weight, drag or cost added to airliners. Vigilant Eagle is a mature, cost-effective airport protection solution and is ready for a large-scale demonstration or military or commercial sale.

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