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
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,"
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
"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
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.
United States: United Kingdom
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310.647.9067 +44 (0)207 569 5516
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SOURCE: Raytheon Company
Web site: http://www.raytheon.com/