Patriot missile

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of recertification of Patriot Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2) MIM-104D missiles and related equipment to Saudi Arabia.

Under the estimated $130m FMS, Saudi Arabia has asked the US to provide technical services for the recertification of up to 300 PAC-2 guidance enhanced missiles (GEM), alongside upgrades to existing equipment, spare and repair parts, support equipment, as well as other elements of logistics and programme support.

The recertification programme is expected to enable the Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces (RSADF) to further extend the PAC-2 missiles’ shelf life for an additional 12 years.

The potential sale also contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the US by enhancing the security of Saudi Arabia, which continues to serve as an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle Eastern region.

Raytheon has been named as the prime contractor for the programme, while the recertification process will be carried out by Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, US.

Manufactured by Raytheon, the MIM-104D PAC-2 is an upgraded version of the Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) system designed for detection and destruction of incoming hostile ballistic missiles by travelling three to five times the speed of sound.

The missile underwent initial flight testing in 1987, and was also used by the US Army during the 1991 Persian Gulf War to counter Iraqi Scud missiles, and reportedly achieved 40 to 70% interception success.

The Patriot missile is operational with Egypt, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and the US.

Image: a Patriot missile being launched.