Westinghouse loses key radar contract Raytheon wins job for missile system

September 18, 1992|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,Staff Writer

A radar contract that Westinghouse Electric Corp. was counting on to help stabilize its Maryland work force for years was awarded yesterday to Raytheon Co. of Lexington, Mass.

The contract, which could lead to billions of dollars in business for Raytheon, is for the development of a ground-based radar system to be used with a missile defense system similar to the Patriot.

"For defense contractors, there are not many big ones [contracts] left, and we are delighted to win it," said Raytheon spokesman Pat Coulter. "It's one of the most important wins for us in a very, very long time."

For the local Westinghouse division, the loss was a major blow.

The company issued a short statement saying: "We are very disappointed that we were not selected for the U.S. Army's ground-based radar program. We are currently assessing the impact of this loss on our Electronic Systems Group operations."

In July, when Westinghouse announced it was bidding for the radar contract, Kelly C. Overman, a company executive, said it was a "very, very nice, long-term program that could be helpful in stabilizing employment" at the Linthicum complex for years.

The new system is to be used with the THAAD (Theater High Altitude Area Defense) missile system, a program military officials described as an upgraded version of the Patriot, which was used with questionable results in the Persian Gulf war.

The new radar would be used to detect incoming missiles, such as the Scuds, then guide the THAAD missile to an interception.

THAAD is being designed to protect a much wider area than the Patriot, which was developed as an anti-aircraft weapon. THAAD is to intercept missiles at higher altitudes and farther from their targets than the Patriot.

The initial contract from the Army Space and Strategic Defense Command is for $491 million for the development of three regional defense radar systems and one system for the National Missile Defense system that would protect the United States against an attack from intercontinental ballistic missiles.

An option for a fifth radar system could boost the initial phase of the award to $614.7 million.

The entire system, including radar and missile, is being designed to fit in C-130 cargo planes for rapid transportation to trouble spots around the world.

The system is expected to be operational early in the next decade.

THAAD missiles, which are fired from mobile launchers, are being developed under a separate contract.

Lockheed Missile & Space Co. won a $688 million contract this month for early work on the missiles.

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