WASHINGTON, March 20 (Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force said on Tuesday it was withholding $621 million in payments from Raytheon Co until the company speeds up deliveries of an advanced U.S. air-to-air missile it is building for the Air Force and the Navy.
Air Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Wesley Miller said the government had suspended $419 million in payments from fiscal 2010 funds to Raytheon, effective Feb. 3, on top of $202 million already withheld from fiscal years 2007 to 2009.
Miller said the Air Force believed the move would spur Raytheon to get the program back on track. He said Raytheon had delivered 359 missiles to date, 193 fewer missiles than the 552 required by the contract.
He said payments to Raytheon would resume once it began consistent deliveries of working missiles and said the government was working with the company on the issue.
Raytheon is building the newest version of the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, which is to be used by Air Force and Navy fighter jets.
Raytheon had no immediate comment on the issue.