Two Laser-Guided Rocket Programs Emerge

Feb 24, 2009

While on-again, off-again efforts to supply U.S. forces with a 2.75 in (70 mm) laser-guided rocket (LGR) have not produced a stable program so far, two fully funded programs have been disclosed at the IDEX defense show here.

Raytheon has been under contract since May 2008 to develop the Talon for the United Arab Emirates, with Emirates Advanced Investments (EAI) as its technical partner and funding source. Flight tests of the weapon are due to start shortly and a production decision is expected this summer to arm UAE Apache helicopters.

The missile uses hardware from Raytheon's laser-guided bomb family, and has a new tail and actuator section and other features that allow it to be launched from standard, unmodified rocket launchers. The UAE weapons will be based on new General Dynamics Hydra-70 rockets, but retrofits are possible and the seeker is designed to be compatible with the Bristol CRV-7 - the United Kingdom is an important sales target.

Meanwhile, Roketsan of Turkey unveiled a guided, 70 mm rocket, also due to be tested this year and enter production in 2010. The weapon should arm Turkey's new attack helicopter, co-developed with AgustaWestland and based on the A129.

Image: Raytheon

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