TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – Raytheon Missiles and Defense is marking its 70th year in southern Arizona.
This week in partnership with BizTucson magazine, we are taking you inside the company to see how it has impacted aerospace and defense as well as the Tucson community.
On Tuesday, we showed you what Raytheon is doing now.
Now we look towards the future of Raytheon in Tucson.
Raytheon has an established track record when it comes to designing and building missiles at its massive facility next to the Tucson International Airport.
Kim Ernzen is president of Naval Power at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. She said engineers are using cutting-edge technology to prepare for the future of warfare. The next generation of hypersonic weapons, which are much different from traditional current-day missiles, include machines that think and learn and missiles that will travel five to six times the speed of sound.
“We’ve got obviously a long legacy of defense missile capability and so leveraging that and taking into this new higher-flying, faster flying, more maneuverable is critical,” she said. “It’s gonna be more like a flying body because it has to be able to go out of the atmosphere and skip along and has a very different trajectory. So that (are) some of the challenges when we start going these hypersonic speeds, it’s about the material sets your choosing … to deal with the very demanding environment. ”
Those hypersonic defense systems will travel up to 4,446 mph.
Raytheon is also working on unmanned systems and directed energy weapons.
“So you have a swarm of drones that are coming in,” Ernzen said. “You can put a high-powered microwave signal up and jam the electronics and in essence make them defenseless.”
Digital technology is also being developed at Raytheon, using computerized imagery for design and development.
“We can simulate a lot of those environments rather than our traditional way of building something once and then testing it and then figuring out if that was the right answer,” Ernzen said. “So it really allows us in a more virtual world to do all of this in a dynamic environment to ultimately be able to get capability faster.”
Ernzen said it is like a digital simulation.
All of this work means expansion for the future.
Raytheon Business Execution Vice President Sam Deneke said the company is investing in automation.
“Additionally we’re investing a tremendous amount of money in our tools and the processes we use here,” he said. “Not only for how we design the missiles and the work we do here but also on the manufacturing floor so looking at added manufacturing robotics, all sorts of automation.”
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