Proposed AESA upgrade to Patriot missile defense passes testing milestone

WALTHAM, Mass. Raytheon's proposed upgrade to its Patriot Air and Missile Defense system has sustained more than 1,000 hours of operational testing in just over a year, which is half the time of a typical testing program.

During testing, the gallium nitride (GaN)-powered Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) prototype radar for Patriot consistently demonstrated 360-degree capability by working together with a second GaN-based AESA antenna that was pointed in a different direction, according to the company. As targets flew out of one array's field of view and into another, the two arrays passed information back and forth, thereby enabling continuous tracking of the targets. The main array also detected and tracked the tactical maneuvers of fighter jets and thousands of other aircraft.

Raytheon's GaN-based AESA radar -- which is designed to work with the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System and other open architectures -- also maintains compatibility with the current Patriot Engagement Control Station and maintains full interoperability with NATO systems.

A number of partner nations in Europe and Asia -- including current Patriot customers and those who expect to use the system in the future -- have expressed interest in acquiring GaN-based AESA, including Poland and Germany.

Regarding reaching the 1,000-hour testing milestone in a little over a year, Doug Burgess, director of AESA programs at Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems business, stated: "We achieved this milestone so quickly because of our successful experience developing and maturing GaN for programs like the U.S. Navy's Air and Missile Defense Radar. We're ready to take the next step and get this radar into the hands of our customers."