First Raytheon ASTOR Aircraft for the U.K. Completes its Initial Flight
GREENVILLE, Texas, May 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Taking to the air for the first time since its modification from a Bombardier Global Express to a Sentinel R Mk 1, the first ASTOR (Airborne Stand-Off Radar) aircraft flew on May 26 for 4.4 hours. The flight was made from the L-3 Integrated Systems facility in Greenville, Texas, where the modification and integration work has been carried out under Raytheon's direction. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040527/NETH031-ahttp://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040527/NETH031-b ) The crew reported that the aircraft performed well in all parameters of flight and its handling differed little from that of a standard Global Express. "The aircraft wanted to leap into the air," said Capt. Joe Wiser, an L-3 flight test veteran with 22 years experience. "All major systems performed optimally." Capt. Wiser said: "During four hours and 24 minutes of flight time, the aircraft reached 15,500 feet, its low altitude objective. Overall, modifications to the aircraft produced very little drag. The more than 300 hours of risk reduction efforts during the aerodynamic testing phase really paid off; the aircraft flew extremely well without vibration and handled predictably. Based on my experience with functional flight testing, this flight was remarkable." The initial flight follows a two year work program at L-3's facility in Greenville involving personnel from Raytheon Systems Limited (RSL), the prime contractor; Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems (SAS); L-3 Communications; and the UK MoD (Ministry of Defence). The remaining four aircraft in the $1.3 billion dual-service (Royal Air Force / British Army) program are being modified at RSL's facility in Broughton in North Wales. Bill Chrispin, the ASTOR integrated product team leader for the MoD, called the flight "a major milestone in the route to fielding this new capability featuring second-generation, state-of-the-art air-to-ground surveillance radar technology. "This successful flight keeps the ASTOR program on schedule and on its way to becoming a key element in the network-enabled capability of the U.K.," Chrispin said. "With the new ASTOR radar on board, this high-altitude, long- endurance platform will give our nation's armed forces a unique battlefield surveillance capability and allow effective interface with current U.S. systems such as JSTARS and future networks such as the Alliance Ground Surveillance System that NATO expects to build." Dr. Richard Anderson, vice president, Raytheon Integrated Airborne Systems, cited the "close, inspiring and extremely effective" teamwork between Raytheon employees in Britain and America, L-3 personnel and the MoD. "We are looking forward with great enthusiasm to delivering ASTOR systems on schedule to support the war-fighting capabilities of the United Kingdom," Anderson said. The ASTOR system is expected to enter service in 2005, according to program director Barry Steiner. "The relationships with Raytheon, L-3, Bombardier, and the customer have been excellent," Steiner said. "This first flight is the result of a team adept at mitigating risk and pulling together to meet our in-service date next year." "This historic milestone in the ASTOR program validates the suitability of the Bombardier Global Express special mission platform, which combines superior range and field performance with a large and totally flexible interior configuration," said Derek Gilmour, vice-president, Government and Special Aircraft sales, Bombardier Aerospace. Raytheon Systems Limited, a subsidiary of Raytheon Company based in the U.K., is a prime contractor and major supplier to the Ministry of Defense. RSL designs, develops and manufactures a range of high-technology defense and commercial electronics. Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems designs, develops and manufactures advanced systems for precision engagement, missile defense and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. With headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., SAS has 11,000 employees and additional facilities in Goleta, Calif.; Forest, Miss., Dallas, McKinney and Plano, Texas, and several international locations. Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN), with 2003 sales of $18.1 billion, is an industry leader in defense and government electronics, space, information technology, technical services and business and special mission aircraft. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 78,000 people worldwide. Contacts: United States: United Kingdom Pennington Way Stephanie Ayres 310.647.9067 +44 (0)207 569 5516 310.200.3911 (mobile) firstname.lastname@example.org@raytheon.com Mike Brown Tel: +44 (0)207 569 email@example.com Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040527/NETH031-a http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040527/NETH031-b AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org/ PRN Photo Desk, firstname.lastname@example.org SOURCE: Raytheon Company Web site: http://www.raytheon.com/
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