GLOBAL DEFENSE MARKET
Patriot Upgrade Could Attract New Customers
During the March 17 test at the Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the Patriot integrated air and missile defense system equipped with an enhanced suite of improvements known as post-deployment build 8 (PDB-8) “successfully detected, tracked and engaged a threat-representative ballistic missile target,” a Raytheon press release said. It destroyed the target by first firing a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile segment enhancement interceptor and, seconds later, a Guidance Enhanced Missile-tactical ballistic missile interceptor.
The test demonstrated that PDB-8 will enable commanders to optimize the right mix of missiles to defeat a variety of threats, said Jeff Pinasco, director for integrated air and missile defense business development at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems.
The upgrade includes modified software that improves Patriot’s ability to destroy all threat categories and differentiate between friendly and enemy aircraft, he said in an email. There are also several hardware enhancements including a modern man station with new touch-screen technology and a processor with “significantly fewer parts, more computing power and reliability that is 40 percent higher than the old processor.”
Currently there are 13 users in the “Patriot partnership” — the United States, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, Pinasco said. Each country has a say in system upgrades and contributes funding for those enhancements proportional to the number of fire units they have.
There were several potential customers that attended the recent test and expressed interest in the upgraded Patriot system including Poland, Turkey and Sweden, according to Raytheon.
Last spring, Poland announced that it had chosen to purchase Patriot over the Aster 30, a system manufactured by Eurosam, a European consortium that consists of the French and Italian branches of MBDA and the Thales Group, which is based in France. “The Polish government is currently negotiating the details of that procurement with the U.S. government, and Raytheon is supporting those discussions,” Pinasco said.
Turkey is in the process of acquiring a new medium-range air and missile defense system and is currently developing a request for proposals. “Patriot is one of the systems that they’re going to be evaluating,” said Mike Nachshen, senior manager of integrated communications for Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems.