Raytheon seeing growth in missile defence systems because of rising ‘threat dynamics’
Reports say that the Swedish government was going to spend over US$1 billion for Raytheon’s U.S.-made Patriot surface-to-air defence missile system, largely due to the perceived increasing threat from Russia
By Holly Ellyatt and Willem Marx
Defense company Raytheon is seeing a growth market in missile defence systems in Europe and the Middle East due to increased “threat dynamics,” the company’s chief executive told CNBC at the Dubai Airshow .
“There is (a growth market in Europe) as a direct result of the threat dynamic that our customers are seeing. They want to have the ability to protect their sovereignty,” Raytheon Chief Executive John Harris said Monday.
Last week, the Swedish government said it was going to start negotiations to spend over US$1 billion for Raytheon’s U.S.-made Patriot surface-to-air defence missile system that it expects to be operational by 2025 at the latest.
The purchase comes amid increasing tensions near the Baltic Sea. The Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) have fears over possible aggression from their neighbour Russia. Nordic countries, such as Sweden, have reportedly looked to deepen their defence cooperation with these Baltic states in response to this aggression.
Remarking on the deal, Harris said that the Patriot system was “the world’s only combat-proven integrated air missile defence system” and that he was “really proud” to be able to supply the system to the Swedish government.
He added that there had also been an increase in interest for Raytheon’s defense systems in the Middle East amid increasing instability in the region, particularly between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
“There’s been demand signals because of the threat dynamic in our core competencies which are integrated air missile defence, precision-guided munitions, cyber, mission support, all areas that give our allied nations the ability to protect their sovereignty.”
Despite the increased interest in missile defence systems from national governments, there is widespread criticism of arms manufacturers such as Raytheon and BAE Systems in the U.K., for their arms sales to countries like Saudi Arabia, which has led airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. More than 10,000 people have died during the conflict, according to the United Nations, and a humanitarian disaster is ongoing in the country.
Harris rebutted criticism, however, saying Raytheon sought to train its customers on how to use its systems “appropriately.”
“We do the hard work of making sure that the countries that employ our systems have the very best training and the ability to use the system in an appropriate manner and that’s a thing that we’re very interested in making sure we do.”
North Korean threat
Raytheon is building missiles that may feature prominently in the effort to repel a possible attack from North Korea .
Last week, congressional defence committees authorised a US$700 billion defence spending plan for fiscal 2018. While the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) still needs to be passed by both houses of Congress and then signed into law by the president, the legislation incorporated a bigger budget for missile defence following the White House’s last-minute request to add US$4 billion for “urgent missile defeat and defence enhancements to counter the threat of North Korea.”
Harris told CNBC on Monday that his company intended to “help our nation to protect its needs.”
“There’s been a keen need for missile defence capability and we’re proud to be a meaningful part of that,” he said.
- CNBC’s Morgan Brennan contributed reporting to this story.