Raytheon is incorporating a 3D-based gamer-style interface into Post Deployment Build-8 (PDB 8.1), an upcoming software upgrade for the Patriot air and missile defence system.

The Warfighter-Machine Interface (WMI) is a new command and control technology that will provide a simplified view of complex defence system data for operators.

WMI features 3D visuals, easy-to-read status pages and search functions that are commonly found in games to replace pixelated shapes and a complex directory system.

This interface will allow operators to perform a simple search using drop-down menus instead of memorising where different types of information were stored.

Raytheon Integrated Defense System integrated air and missile defense vice-president Tom Laliberty said: “Raytheon is constantly enhancing, upgrading and modernising Patriot to ensure it can outpace evolving threats.

“Incorporating WMI into PDB 8.1 leverages the latest technological advances to provide the 16 members of the Patriot partnership a user interface with a total view of their respective battlespace.”

The WMI interface with graphics was developed under a partnership between Raytheon engineers and soldiers. The idea behind using soldiers in the process was to seek feedback on what would allow them to more clearly understand the battlespace.

Raytheon noted that based on test results the WMI was found to improve the reaction time of soldiers and reduce the potential for errors during engagements.

“Incorporating WMI into PDB 8.1 leverages technological advances to provide members of the Patriot partnership a user interface with a total view of their battlespace.”

Furthermore, the interface has the capability to reduce the time required to train operators to employ Patriot.

Last year, the US Army decided to field the WMI technology across Patriot covering all 60 fire units and 15 battalion headquarters. The interface will be fielded at both battalion and battery-level command and control.

Raytheon expects the PDB 8.1 with WMI to achieve initial operational capability with the US Army in 2022. The company aims to make the upgrades available for the US Forces Korea in 2020.

The WMI will also be offered to partner nations if they upgrade to PDB 8.1.

Patriot nations include the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Republic of Korea, the UAE, Qatar, Poland and Sweden.