The US Army and Raytheon have successfully completed a flight test of the Post-Deployment Build 8 (PDB-8)-configured Patriot integrated air and missile defense system.

The test is the first in a series lined up for the Raytheon-built system.

Funded by a 13-nation partnership, the PDB-8 upgrades are expected to improve Patriot’s ability to destroy threats. They also make Patriot easier to operate, and are capable of differentiating between friendly and enemy aircraft.

"PDB-8 can be retro-fitted into Patriot fire units around the world."

During testing, operators used a PDB-8 configured Patriot battery to detect and track a ballistic missile target.

The operators also engaged the target with two different kinds of missiles, the PAC-3 and the GEM-T. The process was then repeated with a second ballistic missile target and two GEM-T missiles.

Raytheon Integrated Air and Missile Defense vice-president Ralph Acaba said: "Because countries share in the investment of upgrades, Patriot is able to stay ahead of the continually evolving and improving threats we are seeing in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

"Like all other Patriot upgrades, PDB-8 can be retro-fitted into Patriot fire units around the world, and builds on the lessons learned from Patriot’s more than 190 combat employments, 700 flight tests and 2,500-plus ground tests."

The Patriot missile is a long-range, all-altitude, all-weather air defence system designed to protect soldiers against advanced threats such as aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The system is currently in service with Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan, as well as the UAE and the US.