The test flight at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico was the first of four for the Patriot GEM (Guidance Enhanced Missile), which include Raytheon's post-deployment build-6 (PDB-6) software.
The test saw the firing of two Patriot GEMs in a "ripple" launch against one tactical ballistic missile. While that target was being picked off, a third Patriot intercepted a second incoming rocket.
Raytheon Vice President Rick Yuse said the test "demonstrated the Configuration-3/PDB-6 system's capability to search, detect, track, classify, engage and kill two surrogate full-body tactical ballistic missile targets."
The targets used in the test were older Patriots and not computer-generated targets. The launch was carried out by a U.S. Army Patriot unit from nearby Fort Bliss.
Raytheon said the PDB-6 software was the result of "lessons learned" from Operation Iraqi Freedom. While the specifics were not revealed, published reports in the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion said the Patriot destroyed all nine Iraqi missiles launched at the invasion force, but also mistakenly shot down two coalition planes.
The PDB-6 upgrade is aimed at giving the Patriot system better discrimination capabilities to tell the difference among ballistic missiles, aircraft, cruise missiles and other targets flying around the battlefield.