WASHINGTON — Raytheon announced today that it had received approval from the U.S. Army for a second recertification of the Patriot missile system, which will extend the operational life of the missile from 30 to 45 years.
The move comes after a three-year life-extension study conducted by Raytheon and funded by the U.S. government and international customers concluded that the life of the missiles could be extended by another 15 years at a much cheaper rate than buying new missiles.
The price per recertified missile will be about 80 to 90 percent cheaper than buying a new missile, “depending on the type of missile,” Mike Fletcher, director of Patriot Missile Systems programs at Raytheon, said. In addition, customers who take part in the recertification program can realize “almost 40 percent savings to do upgrades and recertification at the same time vs. at different times,” Fletcher said.
The Patriot air and missile defense system is operational with 12 countries, and Fletcher said the recertification program is “a repeat of the first recertification — you replace limited life components.”
The company is working to get the word out to its international customers “to assess their stockpile and determine whether or not they would like to invest in a second recertification or upgrade” to a guidance enhanced missile (GEM-T) upgrade, Fletcher added.
In a statement, Sanjay Kapoor, Raytheon’s vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense, said that the recertification “comes on the heels of a recent $46.7 million U.S. Army contract awarded to Raytheon to recertify and upgrade Patriot missiles to the latest GEM-T configuration as part of the continuous Patriot modernization effort.”