Raytheon tests vehicle for Air Launched Effects

By Ethan Sterenfeld / September 10, 2021 at 11:14 AM

Raytheon Technologies conducted the first test flight of its prototype vehicle for the Army's Air Launched Effects competition, Abel Ghanooni, the company's senior director for short-range air defense, said in a Sept. 7 interview. The test was held Aug. 6.

"While we're hesitant to disclose full details of our design's performance, we did prove the effective launch, function of the wing and surface deployment, and flight control," Ghanooni said. After launch, the vehicle spread its wings and achieved stable flight.

The test included two launches, both of which were successful, he said. Although the vehicle will eventually be launched from an aircraft in flight, this test was completed from the ground.

Air Launched Effects is a loitering weapon the Army is developing for its Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, and it is also expected to work with the existing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. It is expected to deliver a variety of kinetic and non-kinetic payloads.

Raytheon is one of three companies that received other transaction agreements last year to develop the vehicle for the Air Launched Effects.

Roughly three-quarters of Raytheon's design comes from its Coyote drone, Ghanooni said. It includes a modular open systems architecture that would allow the vehicle to carry payloads from other companies.

"We're the low-risk approach for the Army," he said.

The current phase of the development OTA ends next month, at which time Raytheon will perform a final demonstration of the technology, Ghanooni said. That demonstration will also include a launch from the ground.