Patriot GEM destroys test cruise missile

June 19, 2006 at 11:21 AM
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WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M., June 19 (UPI) -- A U.S. PAC-2 Patriot missile successfully intercepted a surrogate cruise-missile target during a recent flight test in New Mexico.

Raytheon said Monday that last month's test saw three Patriot fire units engage a low-flying cruise missile intent on hitting one of the units and destroyed it.

It was the second consecutive test launch of Raytheon's Patriot GEM (Guidance Enhanced Missile) against a target over White Sands Missile Range and demonstrated the capabilities of the missile-defense system's PDB-6 software package.

The result was a seamless transfer of data and communications from the Patriot's radar to its engagement-control equipment to the launcher itself.

"As in the previous test, this equipment demonstrated the Configuration-3/PDB-6 system's capability to search, detect, track, classify, engage and eliminate the threat with 'no doubt' mission assurance," said Raytheon Vice President Rick Yuse.

The GEM-T program is an upgrade of existing PAC-2 (Patriot Advanced Configuration-2) rockets that is being carried out by Raytheon for the U.S. Army. The PDB-6 software is a package of planned improvements and suggestions made by Patriot users that was compiled after the Patriots' deployment during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Last month's launch carried out by U.S. Army troops from nearby Fort Bliss was the second of four scheduled developmental test-flights to be conducted at White Sands by the Patriot Lower Tier Project Office using PDB-6.

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