Monday, November 16, 2015

DoD Officials Near Decision on Future of Patriot Missile System

DoD Officials Near Decision on Future of Patriot Missile System: Key Pentagon officials met this week to make critical decisions on the future of the Army's air and missile defense architecture, and while the service is not making recommendations in favor of any one radar for the system, the way forward must include an ability to target threats from 360 degrees — something the current Patriot system can't do.

Raytheon's Patriot has been the Army's cornerstone air-and-missile defense system for 40 years. But the service wants to replace the stovepipe system over time with a more integrated one.

It's clear from Army slides outlining findings from an analysis of alternatives conducted over the past year that the preference is to develop a newer 360-degree radar that meets emerging requirements and would keep pace with the more challenging threat environment expected in the future.

But developing a new radar, rather than upgrading the Raytheon-made Patriot, would cost more than the Army has in its budget for such an effort, according to the slides — marked "for official use only" and obtained by Defense News. The full analysis of alternatives is classified as secret, according to the documents.

The Army can afford to modernize Patriot and give it 360-degree capability, the slides show, but it is predicted that the missile wouldn't be able to keep up against a wide range of modern and future threats even with a baseline upgrade.