Raytheon's Thomas Kennedy: Space-Based Sensor Layer Needed to Counter Advanced Missile Threats

Thomas Kennedy, chairman and CEO of Raytheon, has said the U.S. needs a space-based sensor layer that could help detect, track and counter ballistic missile threats.

He made the remarks during a panel discussion at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Raytheon reported Thursday.

“To have a space-sensor layer, to be able to pick up this advanced threat “¦ that's an absolute must for us to get on board and develop that technology,“ Kennedy said.

Kennedy noted that space commercialization has helped lower the cost of an integrated sensor system and cited microwaves, lasers and other technology platforms that could offer protection against ballistic missile threats.

“I believe there's more we need to do. And the reason we need to do more is because technology has changed, and the threat has significantly evolved based on that technology,“ he added.

Kennedy, a 2019 Wash100 winner, mentioned the role of U.S. allies in the co-development of new capabilities, such as the company's collaboration with Japan on the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA interceptor.

“And getting our coalition partners engaged from that perspective, not just in buying the article after the U.S. develops it, but also in the co-development of it, significantly reduces the cost to the U.S. and in getting the dollars required to put these capabilities in place,“ he noted.

Kennedy joined Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Herbert “Hawk“ Carlisle, a retired U.S. Air Force general, during the panel discussion moderated by CNBC anchor Morgan Brennan.

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