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HUGHES GETS MAJOR SUBCONTRACT FOR ASRAAM MISSILE

 HUGHES GETS MAJOR SUBCONTRACT FOR ASRAAM MISSILE
 CANOGA PARK, Calif., April 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The formal award of an


approximately $1 billion contract to develop and produce the United Kingdom's Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) will mean approximately $200 million in subcontracts for Hughes Aircraft Co., to be received over the next eight years.
 The UK Ministry of Defence's conditional selection of the Dynamics Division of British Aerospace Defense Ltd. for the coveted award had been announced in Parliament on March 3. Negotiations of final contract details had been proceeding since then. The contract signing took place yesterday.
 As supplier of the imaging infrared seeker for the ASRAAM, Hughes Aircraft, a unit of GM Hughes Electronics, will have a critical role in the development of this next-generation weapon. British Aerospace envisions ASRAAM as the successor to the Sidewinder Missile, which is in service worldwide. The two companies have forecast a potential world market of up to 15,000 ASRAAMs.
 Under terms of the contract, the development phase is scheduled to extend for approximately five years, with production missiles scheduled to enter service in the 1998-1999 period.
 The ASRAAMs are expected to be used on Royal Air Forces Harriers and the European Fighter Aircraft, which the RAF expects to add to its inventory at the end of this decade. Missile quantities called for in the contract were not disclosed.
 The seeker that Hughes will provide for ASRAAM will be the first application of imaging infrared focal plane array technology to air-to- air guided missiles, according to Henry L. Weidemann, Hughes' ASRAAM program manager.
 The staring focal plane array, which provides 16,000 detectors in a fingernail-sized array, will provide a smear-free image of the target. Because it possesses much greater sensitivity than do current infrared air-to-air missile guidance systems, the Hughes seeker will give ASRAAM a number of significant advantages over current short-range air-to-air missiles, Weidemann said. These include all-aspect attack capability, increased launch range, greater immunity to countermeasures and improved ability to maintain tracking of targets against distracting thermal backgrounds.
 "This is a major new thrust for Hughes, establishing us firmly in the short-range, air-to-air missile product line," Weidemann said. "We also will be making a significant step forward in the state-of-the-art by applying imaging IR to the air-to-air arena."
 Weidemann said that Hughes has obtained U.S. Government approval to provide British Aerospace Dynamics with technical assistance for ASRAAM development. In addition to supplying the seeker, Hughes also will be responsible for conducting developmental seeker and guidance unit captive flight testing in the United States.
 Hughes' initial development work will be carried out at its Missile Systems Group facilities in Canoga Park, and Tucson, Ariz. In addition, the Hughes Microelectronics Europa Ltd. subsidiary in Glenrothes, Scotland, is expected to be involved in the development phase. The infrared seeker will employ focal plane arrays made at Hughes' Santa Barbara (Calif.) Research Center.
 -0- 4/1/92
 /CONTACT: Hal Watkins of Hughes Aircraft Co., 818-702-3816/ CO: Hughes Aircraft Co. ST: California IN: ARO SU: CON


AL-CH -- LA020 -- 3919 04/01/92 13:51 EST
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Date:Apr 1, 1992
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