Qatar and Raytheon hope to agree on a deal by year end on the purchase of Patriot batteries. (Raytheon)
FARNBOROUGH, ENGLAND — Raytheon is aiming to sign a deal worth $2 billion with Qatar by year end for the supply of Patriot missile defense systems, officials said at the Farnborough International Airshow on Tuesday.
The deal is part of a wider, $11 billion Foreign Military Sales agreement announced on Monday in Washington between the governments of Qatar and the US, which also covers 24 Apache helicopters and 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles, Agence France Presse reported.
Qatar will reportedly receive about 10 Patriot batteries to counter an increase in the perceived threat from Iran, making it the 13th user of the system.
The deal will be worth $2 billion to Raytheon, said Tim Glaeser, business development vice president for Raytheon Integrated Air and Missile Defense.
While Qatar will receive a baseline version of the Patriot, Raytheon also gave details on Tuesday of its plans to upgrade Patriot using gallium nitride (GaN) in new active electronic scanned array (AESA) radar modules.
The firm said it had successfully demonstrated GaN-powered AESA radar for Patriot to the US military.
While gallium arsenide is widely used to make modules for AESA radar, gallium nitride has long been seen as a more powerful alternative, albeit prohibitively expensive.
Glaeser said Raytheon had now invested $150 million in GaN technology, matched by a $100 million investment from the US government.
By switching from non-AESA to GaN-powered AESA radar, Glaeser said, Raytheon would reduce operating and support costs by 50 percent, increase range twofold and increase the mean time between failures twofold.
Glaeser said that customers being offered upgraded Patriot systems would be able to choose gallium nitride radar as an option.
“We are looking for a customer to help launch it and we could be in production and fielding it by 2017,” he said. ■