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Raytheon Teams With US Navy and NASA for First-of-its-Kind Rolling Airframe Missile Wind Tunnel Test

TUCSON, Ariz., Jan. 14, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN), partnering with the U.S. Navy and NASA, has successfully completed an innovative wind tunnel test of the company's Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block 2.

Performed at the NASA Ames Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel facility in California, the exercise collected more than 500 gigabytes of aerodynamic data during 164 wind tunnel test hours that spanned four-and-a-half weeks.

The RAM Block 2 system design and development program is primarily a kinematic upgrade to the missile that requires a new four-axis independent control actuator system, as well as a new boost-sustain rocket motor with approximately twice the propellant as the previous motor. As a result of these significant improvements, the aerodynamic properties of the Block 2 missile necessitate very thorough analysis in order to extract maximum performance.

Conceptualization of this innovative test began nearly two years ago. The RAM Block 2 development program required aerodynamic data over a range of Mach numbers and at missile rotational speeds of up to 15 Hertz (cycles per second). To meet these requirements, a new, fully operational 75 percent spinning missile model was developed by Raytheon, with support from the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, Calif. The model incorporated a rotating six-component balance, as well as a full complement of instrumentation to monitor time and space critical events.

Other features of the new wind tunnel model included complex on-board electronics, a custom high-speed data acquisition system, high-rate canard actuators capable of deflecting the canards at rates of 1500 degrees per second, and high-performance canard and roll control systems.

"The testing program highlighted the abilities of the Navy, Raytheon Missile Systems and NASA to effectively partner on this very complicated testing program and deliver what would have been previously unobtainable data," said Don Nickison, chief of the NASA Ames Wind Tunnel operations division.

For the test, NASA's Ames group dedicated an entire preparation area and crew, who worked six days a week for more than 13 weeks in preparation. Once begun, the testing occurred in the facility's supersonic and transonic wind tunnels.

The company-produced, one-of-kind data acquisition system and model interfaced with the Ames' computer systems to provide important tunnel facility safety interlocks. The data acquired was then transferred to the NASA server for post-processing.

"This is the most technically advanced dynamic force and movement wind tunnel test system to date," said Frank Wyatt, Raytheon Missile Systems vice president of Naval Weapon Systems. "Raytheon and NASA have set the new standard for this technology. None of this would have been possible had it not been for the outstanding efforts of the NASA staff."

Ames built and programmed a custom computer system for post-processing of the data, along with other interfaces between the model and facility systems.

Raytheon Company, with 2006 sales of $19.7 billion, is a technology leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 85 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 72,000 people worldwide.

  John Farlow

SOURCE: Raytheon Company

CONTACT: John Farlow of Raytheon Company, +1-520-794-1211,

Web site: http://www.raytheon.com/

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