If the Navy's proposed AX attack plane ever flies, the local Westinghouse division is very likely going along for the ride.
The Westinghouse Electronic Systems group said yesterday that each of the five teams of contractors vying to produce the plane have selected the company to participate in such developments as radar, electro-optics, electronic-warfare equipment and computer systems.
Although it is too early to say how much work on the AX will be coming to Maryland, Noel Longuemare of Westinghouse said the local division "is well-positioned to capture a significant piece" of the electronic equipment going into the plane.
The AX program is still in its early planning stages. In December, the Navy awarded $20 million contracts to each of the industry teams for studies to define the plane's operational requirements. The first plane is not expected to be produced until after the turn of the century.
The AX is being developed as a replacement for the A-12 program, which was canceled by the Defense Department about a year ago. The A-12, in turn, was to replace the aging A-6 Intruder that has been the workhorse of the Navy's bomber force since the Vietnam War.
As an indication of the potential value of an AX contract, Westinghouse was in line for more than $2 billion in new business by supplying radars for the A-12.