Raytheon celebrates 70 years in Tucson

By Dan Marries

Raytheon Missiles and Defense is marking its 70th year in southern Arizona. In partnership with BizTucson magazine, KOLD News 13 is taking you inside the company to see how they’ve impacted aerospace and defense, as well as the Tucson community.

Raytheon’s roots date back to the early 50s when Howard Hughes established the Hughes Aircraft Company. Following World War II, Hughes was worried about an invasion of the west coast. He wanted to move the weapons manufacturing plant far enough away to keep them safe and chose Tucson over Colorado Springs.

In 1997, Raytheon bought Hughes Aircraft and ever since has continued to grow. Today, it employs 13,000 workers and has a a $2.6 billion economic impact on Tucson.

A number of missiles are built at Raytheon’s massive facility on the south side near TIA, including the well-known Tomahawk cruise missile, the Maverick, and the Griffin.

“We do mostly what’s called integration of the missiles here versus a full up manufacturing operation,” said Sam Deneke, Vice President, Land Warfare and Air Defense – Business Execution at Raytheon Technologies tells me, “we rely a lot on our supply chain partners, a lot of them are local here in the City of Tucson provide parts and sub-assemblies that go ultimately in the missiles that we produce.”

Deneke says they’re using cutting edge technology today as they prepare for tomorrow and beyond.

“We’re constantly evaluating the threats that are out there and developing our technologies to counter those threats,” he said.

It’s an ancient concept straight from the pages of Sun Tzu’s “Art of War,” one of the first documents on military strategies, written thousands of years ago: “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”

“We spend a lot of time working to understand where our adversaries might be going and trying to use the phrase, ‘cut them off,’ but be a couple of steps head of them. We like to say that our purpose here is to give our military an unfair advantage,” says Deneke.

Copyright 2022 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.

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