[UPDATED 7pm with Sec. Hagel remarks] WASHINGTON: This afternoon, newly installed Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gave a nod to a high-tech radar, the AN/TPY-2 — improbably nicknamed “Tippy Two” — as a key component of America’s burgeoning missile defenses. Next week could bring more good news for the radar’s manufacturer, Raytheon: Not only will the company announce the delivery of the eighth TPY-2 system to the Army, but Congress is expected to add back a $163 million radar the administration had cut from the program — that is, if the Senate manages to pass the defense appropriations bill.
“It’s not done yet, no fat lady’s singing,” said Raytheon’s Jim Bedingfield in an interview with Breaking Defense this morning, literally knocking on wood at a coffee shop table. Bedingfield is a retired Army air and missile defense officer who works in Raytheon’s Missile Defense & Space Programs unit, which makes the TPY-2 radar. He’s not come down from his Massachusetts office to DC to meet with members of Congress, he said, but he couldn’t speak to what Raytheon’s lobbyists are doing in the last-minute scramble to protect — or insert — items in the defense spending bill. Keep reading →