American aerospace giant, Raytheon Missile Systems, confirmed last week it would respond to a request for proposal (RfP) from the US Army Aviation and Missile Command for a tender seeking supply of more than 33,000 missiles for the US Army, Navy and Marines. The value of the contract is estimated at $5 billion.
Raytheon will co-tender with aerospace and defence giant Boeing.
Rival Lockheed Martin also said Thursday it would respond to the same request to manufacture the US defence services Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM).
The programme is important as both sets of rivals recognise that this will probably be the last new-start programme that the US defence services will go for in the next 25 years for a missile that can be fired from an helicopter.
Apart from half-a-dozen different kinds of aircraft, the JAGM could also be launched by the AD-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter, built by Boeing.
JAGM will replace three 30-year-old missile programmes, particularly the Hellfire and Hellfire Longbow missiles, which are fired from helicopters. The Hellfire is a spectacularly successful Lockheed Martin project.