By Shay Stautz (1st of a 4+ part series)
February 8, 2020
Like many of you, I have been outraged at the lack of progress in Washington, stymied over the process of impeachment of the President. However, I am staying focused on the future of Southern Arizona, which remains what it has always been – where the jobs are and where they will be coming from. To close observers, there is no confusion over where these jobs are – Raytheon Missile Systems is by far the largest corporate employer, while the UA, Davis Monthan Air Force Base, and Fort Huachuca are the largest non-corporate employers. Combined, they are the “Crown Jewels” of jobs in Southern Arizona, providing nearly 50,000 (direct) good jobs to Southern Arizonans – and these jobs need to be protected and where possible, grown. We need a member of Congress who understands this – and who knows how to do it!
The news about Raytheon, whose 13,000 employees make it one of the four Southern Arizona’s “crown jewels”, just got better. Many Southern Arizonans will know that Raytheon, with an annual revenue of $28B, is in the process of merging with the larger United Technologies Corporation, with an annual revenue of nearly $70B, to create Raytheon Technologies Corporation, headquartered in Boston. This will make it the world’s second largest defense company after Lockheed Martin (and depending on how you classify Boeing, whose airliner business is larger than its defense business). As a unit of Raytheon, Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS), based in Tucson, is the world’s largest missile maker and So. Arizona’s largest private employer and does business with more than 500 Arizona suppliers. RMS is a truly critical component of Southern Arizona’s economy with a $2.5B economic impact and is in the process of an expansion expected to add 2000 jobs and multiple buildings – which we would not want it to stop. The good news is that an internal memo from Raytheon has recently indicated that under the merger, Tucson will become the headquarters of one of the four consolidated business sectors of the new Raytheon Technologies Corporation, combining Raytheon Missile Systems and Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems unit (based in Tewskbury, MA). This is great news for Tucson as an indicator of the value the new merged company places on Tucson (and it might have gone to Tewksbury!)
But mergers often result in layoffs – and both companies have said they expect $1B in “synergy” savings from the merger (Wichner, Tucson.com, 6/22/19); something which should concern us and bears watching. Let me describe just a small part of the critical missile systems that our 13,000 Arizonans produce here in Southern Arizona at Raytheon Missile Systems. It’s not possible to overestimate the contribution that these Arizonans make to our national security:
- The Tomahawk cruise missile: the GPS-enabled Tomahawk has been used in combat more than 2,300 times. According to Raytheon, Its most recent use came in 2018, when U.S. Navy warships and submarines launched 66 Tomahawk missiles at Syrian chemical weapon facilities . The current version, called the Block IV Tactical Tomahawk M, can be retargeted while in flight. It can loiter for hours and change course instantly on command. Beginning in 2020, the U.S. Navy will recertify and modernize the missile, extending its service life by 15 years, and resulting in the new Tomahawk Block V series. This will include a Block V(a) that can strike moving targets at sea, helping correct an imbalance between US force to force strike capabilities at sea.
- The Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) – Raytheon makes the primary anti-ballistic missile for our US Navy ships around the globe that are deployed to defend against ballistic missile attack. This includes defending US forces and our allies in Japan and in (Southern) Europe. The interceptor uses sheer force, rather than an explosive warhead, to destroy its target. Its “kill vehicle” hits threats with the force of a 10-ton truck traveling at 600 mph. This technique, referred to as “hit-to-kill,” has been likened to intercepting a bullet with another bullet. The program has nearly 30 successful space intercepts, and more than 250 interceptors have been delivered to the U.S. and Japanese navies. IN my opinion, the US should order more, as these missiles form a key element of America’s defense against the North Korean ballistic missile threat.
- The Standard Missile-6 (SM-6): in my opinion, this missile is destined to be the new
“go-to” missile for the US Navy for the next twenty years. Combining elements of the SM-3 described above and other missiles, the SM-6 gives the US Navy a formidable strike capability against enemy air, land and sea targets across the globe but most importantly, in the Pacific theater where US forces are increasingly challenged by Chinese naval threats. Raytheon should be applauded for creating a very adaptable capability for a wide-range of targets – and we’ll likely be packing future US Navy ships with them.
- The Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM): The AIM-120 AMRAAM entered service in 1991 and was originally made by Hughes Aircraft, which was acquired by Raytheon in 1997. It is used by the U.S. and 36 allied nations and has been credited for destroying at least nine enemy planes in combat over Iraq and Kosovo during the 1990s. In 2017, Raytheon Missile Systems marked a milestone for the completion of its 20,000th Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile. The latest version of the AMRAAM is the AIM-120D, with a reported range of 99 miles and costs of more than $1 million per copy. However, in the face of Chinese AAMs that may have twice that range, both Raytheon (with its “Peregrine”) and Lockheed Martin (with its proposed AIM-260 Joint Advanced Tactical Missile) are developing potential future replacements for the AMRAAM for the Air Force and Navy.
Raytheon Missile Systems, and presumably, the post-merger Integrated Defense and Missile Systems unit are also expected to work on the Naval Strike Missile, the new nuclear cruise missile, and new hypersonic delivery systems, all of which hold great potential both for the defense of the United States against Russian and Chinese threats but also continued jobs for Southern Arizonans.
I applaud the new Raytheon Technologies Corporation for keeping Southern Arizona a primary focus for the new company and the new defense products, but we must ensure that we have a member of Congress who knows how to support it and Southern Arizona’s interests in Washington. Members of Congress must ensure that decisions about US purchases of new systems are made after clear evaluation of their need and capability in the Pentagon, and then shepherded through the political process of the annual national defense authorization bill (NDAA) as well as the separate annual defense appropriations process. Politics can emerge, including from other companies and other legislators in other states, at any time to attempt to influence policy and purchasing directions – and only a skilled legislator can defend against these challenges.
As AZ CD2 considers its next member of Congress, it should measure each candidate (including the incumbent) according to their understanding of how they can protect Southern Arizona’s crown jewels for jobs!