Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, successfully conducted its first flight test of an air-launched effects drone based on the company’s Coyote® uncrewed aircraft system design. The ALE air vehicle design meets the U.S. Army’s defined specifications for size, weight and power requirements for the Future Vertical Lift program. For the test, the team demonstrated a launch of an ALE configuration intended for the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. The ALE air vehicle was ground launched from the canister, spread its wings, and accomplished stable flight.
The Raytheon Coyote is a small, expendable, unmanned aircraft system built by the Raytheon Company, with the capability of operating in autonomous swarms. It is launched from a sonobuoy canister with the wings deploying in early flight phase. The system can operate up to one hour and is designed for interchangeable payloads. It is used by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for hurricane tracking, and is being assessed by the United States Air Force and Army as an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance asset, as well as for delivering kinetic payloads.
The launch was the first in a series of increasingly complex, near-term flight tests that will advance the ALE air vehicle’s design, including payload integration, and further demonstrate its performance and maturity. Raytheon Missiles & Defense is one of three companies awarded Other Transaction Authority contracts in August 2020 to produce ALE air vehicle designs. Raytheon Technologies businesses were also chosen for projects aimed at developing ALE mission systems and payloads. All test objectives were achieved, including low-altitude launch, wing and flight surface deployment, and stable air vehicle flight control.
“Leveraging the maturity of the Coyote design, we are well-positioned to offer the Army a reliable, sustainable and cost-effective air-launched effects air vehicle,” said Tom Laliberty, vice president of Land Warfare & Air Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “Our solution’s modular open systems architecture design means it can rapidly integrate new technologies to take on advanced threats and protect aircrews in future high-end fights.”
Air Launched Effects (ALE) are a Family of Systems (FoS) consisting of an air vehicle, payload(s), mission system applications, and associated support equipment designed to autonomously or semi-autonomously deliver effects as a single agent or as a member of a team. ALE is a crucial piece of the Future Armed Reconnaissance Aircraft Ecosystem advanced team concept synergistically enhancing survivability, threat identification, targeting, and lethality of Army aviation brigades and ground force commanders’ assets. They will provide scalable effects to detect, locate, disrupt, decoy, and/or deliver lethal effects against threats. As relatively low cost systems, they are attritable or optionally recoverable.
Raytheon Missiles & Defense (RMD) is one of four business segments of Raytheon Technologies. Headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, its president is Wes Kremer. The business produces a broad portfolio of advanced technologies, including air and missile defense systems, precision weapons, radars, and command and control systems.
The business is a combination of two Raytheon Company legacy businesses, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) and Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS), which operated a plant formerly owned by the Hughes Aircraft Company. David Leighton, a noted historian, documented the early history of the Hughes Missile Plant in two books. His monograph: The Falcon’s Nest: The Hughes Missile Plant in Tucson, 1947-1960, which included the early history of Hughes Aircraft Co. and, his reference book: The History of the Hughes Missile Plant in Tucson, 1947–1960. Key Raytheon Missiles & Defense capabilities combine key IDS and RMS capabilities.
Raytheon Technologies Corporation is an American multinational aerospace and defense conglomerate headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. It is one of the largest aerospace, intelligence services providers, and defense manufacturers in the world by revenue and market capitalization. The company has four subsidiaries: Collins Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney, Raytheon Intelligence & Space and Raytheon Missiles & Defense.