Raytheon Targeting Pod Achieves 100,000 Flight Hours on F/A-18

McKINNEY, Texas, Jan. 24, 2007 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Navy has confirmed that Raytheon Company's (NYSE: RTN) advanced targeting pod achieved 100,000 operational flight hours on F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet aircraft.

The Raytheon Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared system officially logged its 100,000th flight hour last month over Iraq , according to Cmdr.Martin Beaulieu , who leads the electro-optical/infrared integrated product team within the U.S. Navy's F/A-18 program office.

"When you consider that ATFLIR's initial operational capability occurred in September 2003 , it has been a relatively short time for the pod to reach this significant milestone," said Mike Crisp , Raytheon program manager for ATFLIR. "It also speaks volumes about the system's use by naval aviation. Mission demand for ATFLIR has dramatically increased, and Raytheon continues to support an ATFLIR operational availability of well above 80 percent."

During a special luncheon Thursday, Jan. 18 , at Raytheon's McKinney site, Capt. B.D. Gaddis , Naval Air Systems Command manager for the F/A-18 program,told employees: "ATFLIR continues to be an important element and key enabler in how we employ Navy TACAIR (tactical air operations) and project power from the sea. You've produced a world-class sensor, and its capabilities are on the front lines of the global war on terror. We congratulate your workforce in providing this outstanding system on time and within budget. "

The AN/ASQ-228 pod is a program of record for the Hornet and Super Hornet,including Navy and Marine Corps aircraft carrier-based squadrons. In its 100,000 hours of supporting flight operations, ATFLIR has detected and tracked targets at altitudes and ranges substantially greater than those of other targeting systems. Raytheon's is also the only pod that provides continuous auto-boresight alignment. The electro-optical sensor, targeting FLIR, and high-power laser share a common optical path for unmatched accuracy and mission effectiveness.

With recent contract awards totaling more than $200 million, the targeting pod represents significant business for Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems. The current Navy program calls for 410 systems. More than 900 employees build and repair the ATFLIR pod in McKinney and El Segundo, Calif.

"We closed out 2006 with 161 pods delivered on the program and ahead of contract," Crisp said. "That's a full-rate production pace we're proud of,having transitioned ATFLIR production operations a year earlier from El Segundo to McKinney to build a common factory for electro-optical and infrared systems."

Raytheon SAS is a leading provider of sensor systems giving war fighters the most accurate and timely information available for the network-centric battlefield. With 2005 revenues of $4.2 billion and 13,000 employees, SAS is headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., with additional facilities in Goleta,Calif.; Forest, Miss.; Dallas , McKinney and Plano, Texas; and several international locations.

Raytheon Company, with 2005 sales of $21.9 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 80,000 people worldwide.

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