WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M., June 5 (UPI) -- Patriot missiles fitted with updated guidance software destroyed two surrogate ballistic missile targets during a recent test, Raytheon announced Monday.
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.