The US Army has granted approval for a second recertification of the Raytheon-built Patriot air and missile defence system, which extends the operational life of the global Patriot inventory from 30 to 45 years.
Involving recertification for the missile's critical components, the extension enables customers to recertify and upgrade their respective Patriot missile inventories at a fraction of the cost of replacement with alternative interceptors.
Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems business integrated air and missile defence vice president Sanjay Kapoor said the recertification represented a testament to the system's capabilities and combat performance.
"This significant life extension decision by the army comes on the heels of a recent $46.7m US Army contract awarded to Raytheon to recertify and upgrade Patriot missiles to the latest GEM-T configuration as part of the continuous Patriot modernisation effort," Kapoor added.
In addition to undergoing more than 500 successful test firings, Patriot missiles' underlying technology and operational capabilities have been continually improved in the past 20 years to help counter high-speed tactical ballistic missiles and air breathing threats.
The company currently operates a global base of more than 300 suppliers who are committed to mission performance and readiness of the Patriot missiles.
The MIM-104 Patriot is a long-range, all-altitude, all-weather air defence system designed to provide protection against advanced threats including aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the battlefield.
Primarily operated by US forces during the most recent Iraq conflict, the Patriot is also in service with Egypt, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.
Raytheon IDS is the prime contractor for Patriot air and missile defence systems and is also the system integrator for Patriot advanced capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles.
Image: A Patriot missile being launched by US soldiers at a site on McGregor Range near El Paso, Texas, US. Photo: courtesy of TSGT James D Mossman, USAF.