The US defence firm Raytheon which is moving away from what it was most famous for air launched missiles – especially the long-standing AIM-9 Sidewinder family – is now fully engaged in space. During the Farnborough International Airshow 2022, it was announced that its UK arm, Raytheon UK, is acquiring the Alnwick, Northhumbland-based UK Space Situational Awareness (SSA) specialist firm Northern Space and Security Ltd. (NORSS), which has contracts with UK Space Agency and the UK Ministry of Defence. SSA can be simply described as trying to answer three questions about orbiting objects: Where is it? What is it doing? And what is it?
Meanwhile, Raytheon Technologies’ is taking the concept of “Star Wars” lasers to counter the drone menace on Earth. High-Energy Laser Weapons System, or HELWS, is being installed on the UK Wolfhound land vehicle and provided to the Ministry of Defence for a six-month trial starting in the spring of 2023. It is designed to take down Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), more commonly known as drones, which have proven to be so effective in the Russo-Ukraine war. Raytheon UK is planning to open an planned “advanced laser integration centre” in Livingston, near Edinburgh.