Raytheon Missile Systems has started full-rate production of the Talon laser-guided rockets (LGR) for the UAE Armed Forces.

The production is being carried out as part of a $117m contract awarded by Tawazun.

Under the contract, the company will maintain full integration of the Talon system into the UAE military, including logistics, training and warranty support.

"Full-rate production of the Talon LGR is a significant milestone for Raytheon and the programme."

Raytheon Talon programme director Darryl Kreitman said: "Full-rate production of the Talon LGR is a significant milestone for Raytheon and the programme.

"UAE defence manufacturing industry participated in [the] development of this revolutionary system and the end-user can now benefit from this laser-guided precision capability."

The company is also exploring options to integrate Talon onto NIMR 4×4 light tactical armoured vehicles, which are currently operated by different units of the UAE Armed Forces.

Tawazun received a contract from the Armed Forces General Headquarters of the UAE in 2013 to acquire the Talon rockets for the military.

A joint development effort between Raytheon and Emirates Advanced Investments (EAI), Talon LGR is a low-cost, digital, semi-active laser guidance and control kit designed to convert ‘dumb’ 2.75in / 70mm helicopter-borne rockets into guided weapons.

The weapon can launch from any aircraft that fires 2.75in unguided rockets, using the standard M260/261 launchers, and does not require hardware or software modifications to the launcher or aircraft platform.

Talon is fully compatible with existing airborne and ground laser designators, and bridges the critical operational capability gap between unguided rockets and guided, heavy anti-tank missiles.

In addition, the weapon’s architecture and ease of employment increases its suitability for missions in urban environments, as well as counter insurgency and swarming boat defence missions.

The rocket achieved an air worthiness certification on the AH-64D/E Apache attack helicopter earlier this year.

Defence Technology