Raytheon has successfully completed a series of tests to upgrade the combat-proven Patriot air and missile defence system.
The upgrade aimed to enhance the Patriot’s capabilities against a wide range of threats,including aircraft, drones, and cruise and ballistic missiles.
The range of the Patriot’s radar was improved using active electronically scanned array (AESA) technology based on gallium nitride (GaN).
Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems business integrated air and missile defence vice-president Ralph Acaba said: "Raytheon has invested more than $150m in GaN technology and learned invaluable lessons while building our GaN-based AESA full-scale prototype.
"This ensures Raytheon is able to rapidly develop, build, test and deliver a combat-ready GaN-based AESA radar that gives Patriot 360-degree capability."
The new AESA radar uses three antenna arrays, which are mounted on a mobile radar shelter. The main AESA array replaces the current Patriot antenna, and has been designed to tackle primary threats.
A new rear panel identifies and engages threats from any direction.
Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems business integrated air and missile defence development vice-president Tim Glaeser said: "Raytheon’s GaN-based AESA radar will outmatch future threats for the same reason today’s Patriot is able to outmatch current threats: because it is designed to be upgraded and we have a growth path for the system.
The company is currently working on the development of a full-scale, main-panel radar array prototype, which is expected to be ready for testing this year.
Last year, the company built a GaN-based AESA rear-panel array and integrated it with a radar for potential use with Patriot, using existing back-end processing hardware and software.
Used by 13 countries, Raytheon’s Patriot has been involved in more than 200 combat engagements, 1,400 flight tests, and 3,000 ground tests.
Image: Artist’s rendering of Raytheon’s 360-degree capable Patriot radar array, enhanced with active electronically scanned array (AESA) technology. Photo: courtesy of PRNewsFoto/Raytheon Company.