Army issues latest Patriot upgrade order

April 13, 2006 at 11:31 AM
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TUCSON, April 13 (UPI) -- Raytheon has received a $47 million contract to upgrade the U.S. Army's Patriot missile fleet to GEM-plus configuration.

GEM-plus facilitates the conversion of PAC-2 missile interceptors to PAC-3 capabilities, giving the system a greater range and a potential effectiveness against larger ballistic missiles.

The contract is the 11th in a series of GEM-plus orders covering 770 upgrades, 515 of which have been delivered on or ahead of schedule, Raytheon said Thursday.

The PAC-3 configuration was launched in 1999 as an improvement over the PAC-2 version that had mixed success against Iraqi Scuds during the first Gulf War.

Designed to meet improving world tactical missile technology, the PAC-3's primary difference over the PAC-2 is the kinetic warhead, which replaces the exploding payload previously used. A kinetic warhead destroys the target missile through a physical collision rather than a localized blast.

In addition, the PAC-3 is equipped with updated sensors that give it a range seven times that of the PAC-2.

The GEM-plus upgrade package specifically includes fuses and a low-noise oscillator designed to pick up targets with low radar signatures.

"This modernization program plays a vital role in providing the U.S. Army the capability to defeat modern threats," said Raytheon Vice President Rick Yuse.

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