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Raytheon's Laser-Guided Maverick Missile Meets Urgent Air Force Need

TUCSON, Ariz., Aug. 16, 2007 /PRNewswire/ -- Having published an urgent operational need for a close air support weapon to defeat high-speed moving targets with minimal collateral damage, the U.S. Air Force has expressed interest in re-establishing production of Raytheon Company's (NYSE: RTN) laser-guided Maverick.

The laser-guided AGM-65E Maverick missile is an air-to-ground weapon that can meet the service's needs in the near-term.

The Air Force currently operates with television- and infrared-guided versions of Maverick. Until now, only the Navy and Marine Corps have employed the laser-guided version. The laser-guided Maverick has a combat-proven record of effectiveness and reliability against armored and moving surface targets in scenarios involving urban environments and during close air support missions.

"Maverick missiles constitute a key capability required for use in the modern battlespace," said Harry Schulte, Raytheon Missile Systems vice president of the Strike product line. "Maverick has proved itself over many years of service to be a very versatile weapon system, and the newest laser version will significantly enhance the Air Force's precision capability required to save lives in close combat and quick-reaction situations.

"To get that capability on Air Force aircraft in short order, the Navy has agreed to transfer some of its inventory of laser-guided Mavericks to the Air Force."

Maverick is a precision air-to-ground missile that has multiple warhead and seeker variants and is used against moving or stationary small or hard targets; armored vehicles; surface-to-air missile sites; and high-value targets such as ships, port facilities and communications centers. The missile has launch-and-leave capability that enables a pilot to fire it and immediately take evasive action or attack another target as the missile guides to the target.

First employed in Southeast Asia more than 30 years ago, Maverick is the most widely used precision-guided missile in the world. Maverick has been upgraded to meet evolving threats, playing a key role in recent conflicts. The weapon's seeker technology has improved significantly since the initial television-guided version was delivered to the Air Force in 1972. Increased capabilities were added with the introduction of scene magnification optics; modern charge-coupled-device television technology; and improved software, infrared and laser seekers.

Raytheon Company, with 2006 sales of $20.3 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 73,000 people worldwide.

Jon Allen

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