Raytheon has achieved a series of engineering milestones in the upgrading programme of the Patriot air and missile defense system’s radar, moving a step towards production readiness.
Patriot is claimed to be one of the world’s most modern and capable air and missile defence systems, offering protection against a full range of advanced threats.
The radar provides 360-degrees of protection, the upgrade is aimed at providing enhanced protection to US forces and allies from threats such as drones, aircraft, and cruise and ballistic missiles.
According to Raytheon, the recent development included upgrading the Patriot radar main array with gallium nitride- (GaN) based active electronically scanned array (AESA) technology.
With this milestone, the company is expected to have a full-scale main array demonstrator operational in early next year.
Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems business Integrated Air and Missile Defense vice-president Ralph Acaba said: "The Raytheon-developed GaN-based AESA radar builds on the more than $150m invested in GaN technology, and will be a simple upgrade for the more than 220 Patriot fire units fielded by the US and the 12 other Patriot partner nations.
"This upgrade is approved for export to all current Patriot partners and a number of future Patriot partner nations such as Poland."
The GaN-based AESA Patriot consisted of three antenna arrays mounted on a mobile radar shelter in order to offer 360-degrees of radar coverage.
In addition, the new rear panel arrays allow the system to look behind and to the sides of the main array, enabling the radar to engage threats in all directions, the company stated.
In April, Raytheon secured a $2bn contract to supply the combat-proven Patriot air and missile defence system to an undisclosed international customer.
The contract covers fully digitised new-production Patriot fire units featuring the latest technology for improved threat detection, identification and engagement.