Rear Adm. Gerry Hueber, USN Ret., Raytheon Strategic and Naval Systems business executive, discusses the company’s air and missile defense portfolio ranging from the Standard missile to the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System with Defense & Aerospace Report Editor Vago Muradian at the Surface Navy Association’s 2019 conference and tradeshow in Northern Virginia. We are an SNA media partner for the event and our coverage is sponsored by Huntington Ingalls Industries, GE Marine, L3 Technologies and Leonardo DRS.
Surface Navy Association Conference
Vago Muradian: Welcome to the Defense and Aerospace Report. I’m Vago Muradian here at the Surface Navy Association’s Annual Conference and Trade Show in Northern Virginia, the number one gathering of the United States Navy’s Surface Warfare leadership, as well as the service’s senior leaders convene here every year. We’re a partner with SNA. We’re an official media partner with SNA, and our coverage here is sponsored by Huntington Ingalls Industries, General Electric Marine, L3 Technologies and Leonardo DRS.
We’re here at the Raytheon stand to talk to Retired United States Navy Rear Admiral Gerry Hueber who does business development for the Raytheon Missile Systems business. Sir, thanks very much for your time.
Mr. Gerard Hueber: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to meet with you here today. We have a tremendous amount of business. Exciting times for Raytheon Missile Systems.
Mr. Muradian: Absolutely. And to give you a shout out, you’re a former Expeditionary Strike Group Commander. So as people talk about novel unit compositions, I may want to ask you a question about that as the Navy explores the Littoral Combat Group, one which just did its first deployment as well.
But let me ask you, your portfolio is vast, and obviously the company is synonymous with missile defense in many cases, having actually some of the most successful product lines all the way from the Rolling Airframe Missile to the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, the ESSM, and then obviously the Standard Missile line which has more derivatives and versions now than ever, now that it’s also in a sea strike, a surface-to-surface mode.
Let’s talk a little bit about the news that you guys have on the SM-3 platform, and walk us, for those people who are not as intimately familiar with the Standard Missile family, the kind of variance in models and what they cover because sometimes folks get confused a little bit with the designations, and which one of the weapons is doing what.
In my mental model, sir, I still think SM-1 sometimes in a 25-mile range. So that’s not the case anymore.
Mr. Hueber: Let me tell you, the portfolio that I represent spans the spectrum from Standard Missile 3 through Phalanx.
Standard Missile 3 is a missile defense product. It has been an exciting time. 2018 was a testing year. A combination of both U.S. testing, international community with Japan. Three tremendously successful tests. The most recent test we did was, the highlight was a launch on remote. That’s where you take the launcher, Aegis Ashore, you separate that from the sensor, a forward based radar system. You network that, tremendous capability.
From there we move into a ship-board layered air defense from the Standard Missile 6, to a Standard Missile 2, Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, Rolling Airframe Missile, to Phalanx.
As of the first of January at Raytheon Missile Systems we have established a new product line of the Strategic and Naval Systems product line that encompasses SM-3 down through Phalanx.
In the Standard Missile 2 world, again, more exciting times. We signed a contract in 2017 for restarting that production line with an international piece for the Netherlands, Japan, Korea and Australia — 262 missiles. The first delivery of that will take place in 2020.
Just in December we now signed an engineering manufacturing and development contract for the next variant of Standard Missile 2. As you said, some of these missiles have been around for a long time. This is the next generation of that Standard Missile 2 variant. It provides an active capability. We’ll IOC that somewhere out in the 2023 time frame.
In the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile world, again, 2018. The 50thyear of the longest standing missile consortium inside of NATO. Twelve nations co-develop, co-invest, co-produce that missile. We are completing the engineering, manufacturing and development phase of that missile. We’ll translate to an initial rate production. That missile will have an Initial Operating Capability in 2020.
You move down through the Rolling Air Frame Missile and into Phalanx where we have an international footprint in Phalanx all the way out to 22, 23 countries of 660 systems worldwide.
Mr. Muradian: That’s an extraordinary spread, and takes you from the close-in weapon system, dealing in the couple of hundred yards from the ship all the way out to several hundred miles from the ship.
Let’s talk a little bit about production rates. One of the things the Navy wants to do is to fill magazines. Everybody understands that with DF-21s, DF-26s, it’s likely the Chinese will only shoot one or two of them, but probably not. So you need to have that magazine up. I think that’s something that’s been a priority over the past couple of years.
Tell us a little bit about production rates, what you guys are doing to make sure that these lines are running optimally as folks consider spending even more money to accelerate and to really, especially on the anti-missile side of things, to get that kind of capability out to the force in enough numbers to deal with multiple waves of incoming threats as opposed to being able to take care of, as I think historically we’ve looked at this, as sort of a silver bullet to shoot another rare silver bullet rather than hey, I’m changing my ConOps entirely and need to defend and defend in-depth in a more dramatic fashion than we have perhaps in decades.
Mr. Hueber: It’s a great question, and let me tell you, we have about three different phases. One is, I think to get at that cost issue, one that the Navy and the government certainly is aware of cost as we are, it’s a priority.
I think the efficiencies that we will gain from standing up this consolidated product line from the Standard Missile 3 through Phalanx, we’ll achieve some synergies across there that will marry up with the expectations of the government from an industry perspective.
I will also tell you, as I mentioned, the testing year for 2018, for example, SM-3. 2019 is a production year. We are in the process of working multi-years. Both SM-6, SM-3, similar to how we gained efficiencies in the shipbuilding program of multi-year contracts. We think that certainly offers those savings back to the government through those multi-year contracts. It’s a highlight and a number one priority for both us and the government.
Additionally, we have taken a long look inside of our business at our current production lines. How do you stabilize the industrial base, and then how do you marry that up with our suppliers such that we are able to respond on short notice to ramping up that production capability across our entire missile portfolio?
Mr. Muradian: Are you at liberty to say what kind of production rates you can get to with the system given that in the past, some of the higher-end missiles have operated at much much lower, almost boutique production rates which was a concern. I know that that was something that Ballistic Missile Defense folks had talked about, and even Navy leaders had talked about. Said hey, you know, we don’t quite have as many of these as we’re going to need. Are you at liberty to say what kind of run rates you hope to expect to get to?
Mr. Hueber: I wouldn’t talk about the numbers. What I would talk about is the processes and the procedures that we have in place. I think part of that was the education.
When you look just inside the business at production, there are many factors that go into that and it begins back with our supply base. That has been looked at all the way through factory operations to be able to meet that ramp-up. What we have provided back to the government are sliding scales of where you could go on time frames to meet those production rates.
Mr. Muradian: In an extraordinary example of corporate strategy, Raytheon committed itself to re-win, I should say, the Ballistic Missile Defense radar competition. I know there was a little bit of [bad blood] in the company where you guys won it once and then you had to win the competition again. Obviously the successor of the Aegis system.
Talk to us a little bit about how that new Advanced Missile Defense Radar in that architecture, talk to us about the capability that that brings on from just an air defense standpoint.
Also, the Aegis platform continues to be evolved as well, the combat system and the radar there. So you’re having two challenges. One is with the existing platform, but also then evolving and tailoring the system to the next generation weapon. Talk to us a little bit about how you’re transitioning and handling that kind of evolutionary process.
Mr. Hueber: I’d say there’s four pieces to the need to be integrated in this process. One would be the sensor, one would be the combat management system, one would be the launcher, one would be the effector.
You start with our SPY-6 Radar inside of the DDG program. You start with the ACR Radar inside the FFGX program. How we marry that up with whatever combat system is required, back through the Mark 41 Launcher to our effector. That is the network that is being pieced together, and we are an integral part of that from a Raytheon company perspective at the front end of the sensor package and at the back end the effector package. In between there, how we work with Lockheed on the Aegis system or any other combat management system provider in that piece.
Globally, ESSM is the best example of the number of radar systems, combat management systems, illuminators and launcher systems, that we take that one effector out of Raytheon missile systems and we’re able to distribute that globally. When you bring that back into the U.S., right now it’s an Aegis-centric force. But at the front end of that is our SPY-6 radar and at the back end of that is our effector. We’re well integrated in that teaming arrangement inside of the Navy Staff and inside of the IWS, Integrated Warfare Systems Organization.
Mr. Muradian: It’s an extraordinary spread, and I’m sorry, I’m not wearing my NATO Sea Sparrow cuff links, so I feel badly about that. But again, one of the most extraordinary partnerships, certainly international partnerships for a sophisticated weapon system.
Okay, drawing a little bit on your ESG experience. That was in 2004 and ’05, was two pointy ships with a big deck amphib, experiment, see what it does for reach. As somebody who lived that life, talk to us about the challenges associated with A, pioneering these kinds of new formations; but B, how you get, the Navy appears to always periodically have to relearn an old lesson. It’s like oh wow, you know, old-timers will say yeah, we remember Surface Action Groups and a whole bunch of things that pair battleships, for example, with other formations. Now we have the Littoral Combat Group which was Wayne Meyer as well as Somerset, it was an LPD-7 and a DDG-51.
As somebody who lived that life, as the Commodore of the force, what are some lessons learned as the Navy goes through and starts to work on some of these advanced warfighting concepts to be distributed, but also new kinds of even ad hoc formations that folks are going to have to develop in the event of a potential conflict? Talk to us about some of the lessons learned from your standpoint, as somebody who has been there, done it, and gotten the T-shirt.
Mr. Hueber: I’m going to let the Navy handle the warfighting capability of that. I would just make one comment, that the ESG in itself, the amphibious force, has tremendous capability in itself with a CEC.
Mr. Muradian: With the Cooperative Engagement Capability.
Mr. Hueber: Cooperative Engagement Capability. As a former Surface Warfare officer, I love to highlight that the appreciation of does the force know that that ship has that capability and how that can change the perspective on that capability? What are we interested in? Look at Naval Strike Missile going on the Littoral Combatant ship. We can do those kinds of things inside of both the amphibious force and inside the combat logistics force today. Whether it’s stationary or roll-on/roll-off capability.
We’ve been in production for the close-in weapon systems for years. A hybrid of that is we land-based it. It’s in use —
Mr. Muradian: In the green zone —
Mr. Hueber: In Iraq and Afghanistan. And now we think that will be a tremendous capability that you could do that with Phalanx of roll-on/roll-off, and also SeaRAM. We put SeaRAM on the DDGs in Rota to fill a gap when they’re in their BMD mode on that first transition to homeport of the ships in Rota. We think we can do that inside that ESG on the L-Class ships and add that capability. Whether it’s a SeaRAM piece for a defense, or it’s an NSM for an offense, to get at this distributed maritime operations, this distributed warfare capability that we’ve been talking about for a number of years.
We’re close. We’re closer than anybody would think of that, and we think that would add a great piece. How do you take one plus one and make it three inside that Expeditionary Strike Group? We’re well on our way inside the DDG and the FFG and we’re well positioned for the things Ron Boxall was talking about of the Surface Combatant Evolutionary Plan yesterday, or Surface Capability Plan, of where we fit on each one of those platforms. The FFGX, the large Surface Combatant, inside the large Unmanned Surface Combatant, and even at the sensor package across integrated defense systems, across Raytheon missile system. Raytheon’s well positioned in that entire portfolio.
Mr. Muradian: Let me ask you one last question before we go which is on the Naval Strike Missile. That’s a partnership with Kongsberg of Norway. Extraordinary weapon in terms of the range, reach and capabilities that you as a team are bringing to it. Bring us up to speed on where you are on the program on delivery schedules and all of that, given it’s such an integral piece to realizing the surface warfare element of the Littoral Combat Ships which Admiral Boxall and Admiral Brown have said hey, this is the year that we’re going to start getting into that deployment battle rhythm.
Mr. Hueber: Great teaming agreement with Kongsberg on our Naval Strike Missile. All I’ll tell you is we know the Navy wants to advance that inside of LCS. Raytheon Missile System stands by and we’re ready to support.
Mr. Muradian: Fantastic. Rear Admiral Gerry Hueber. Sir, thanks very much. A real pleasure, and fair winds, following seas on the whole portfolio, and I hope you break a leg here at SNA.
Mr. Hueber: Thank you very much. It was a pleasure.