Final inspections for USMC CLAWS completed

Oct. 31, 2006 at 11:46 AM
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BOSTON, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- The U.S. Marines were on the verge Tuesday of taking delivery of the final two units of the CLAWS mobile air-defense missile system.

Officials from the Defense Department and the Corps were in Massachusetts earlier this month for the Limited Technical Inspection phase of the CLAWS (Complementary Low Altitude Weapons System) production system.

The weapon is built by Raytheon for use a vehicle-mounted anti-aircraft system to protect amphibious forces on the beach head or other Marine units in the field from enemy aircraft and cruise missiles. The system uses a HUMVEE as its launch platform and the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile to intercept incoming manned and unmanned threats regardless of weather.

The system can also be integrated into an overall air-defense network with the Navy's Aegis system and the ground-based Hawk and Patriot missiles.

Air raids and shore-based missiles are among the priority threats the U.S. military will face in the "littoral" environment along the coastlines of world trouble spots. And while al Qaida and its ilk aren't likely to field such weapons, military planners say no one really knows what the future holds in the coming decades.

Nevertheless, the CLAWS project for the Marines was moving along well on Tuesday.

"We completed this 14-month program in just over 12 months and exceeded our performance expectations," Raytheon Vice President Rick Yuse boasted in a news release.

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