Ultimately, however, there is “significant margin” to completing the first deliveries for the F-15E, scheduled for July 2016, O'Brien notes.
The test did prove that flight performance matched the simulation developed for predictive analysis, a key achievement, Merchant says. Additionally, the cooperative use of two sensors and associated tracker algorithms are “first-time events and breaking new ground,” he notes.
Raytheon won the $450 million, fixed-price development contract for SDB II two years ago. O'Brien did not provide specifics on how detrimental the delay is to the program's profitability, though he noted that the company is “within our business margins.”
USAF officials now estimate that the program at completion will cost $453.4 million. Raytheon's performance remains high on the program despite a slight downward trend owing to the delay, service officials say. The company has been paid $168.7 million. Of that, $47.5 million is for performance-based milestones. The remainder covers progress payments.
The work on SDB II, however, could prove fruitful for Raytheon in other areas. Its progress refining the trimode seeker is directly benefitting the company's position on the Army's Joint-Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) program. Under that project, the Army hopes to replace its Hellfire, Maverick and Tube-launched, Optically-tracked and Wire-guided (TOW) missiles with a single platform. Originally scoped as a weapon requiring a trimode seeker, the Army recently struck the imaging infrared from the near-term plan.
The Army provided Lockheed Martin with a $64.15 million, 27-month contract to extend technology development of a dual-mode seeker that employs the semi-active laser and millimeter-wave radar sensors. Integrating the imaging infrared sensor proved troublesome. “It was unaffordable,” says Ken Musculus, Lockheed Martin director of air-to-ground missiles. “It turns out that [imaging IR] drives a lot of the cost within the seeker.”
Raytheon, meanwhile, is pushing the Army to drop the dual-mode effort and skip directly to a tri-mode JAGM. The company would use the same seeker now in testing for SDB II.
“We think the right answer is not to back up . . . not after spending more than $900 million” on this technology, says J.R. Smith, JAGM business development director, noting the total amount spent by the Pentagon in developing technologies for JAGM, including the earlier Joint Common Missile program.
USAF is planning for 11 flight tests of SDB II leading up to the January 2014 production decision, O'Brien says.