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US Army testing newest upgrades to Patriot missile system

Patriot missile upgrades
US Army file photo

US Army soldiers and government civilians have started a yearlong test on the latest Patriot missile system upgrade.

This upgrade to the mobile air defense guided missile system is the newest one since 2018.

Starting in early June 2022, US Army Operational Test Command’s (OTC) Air and Missile Defense Test Directorate (AMDTD) worked alongside Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 6th Air Defense Artillery Test Detachment (ADATD), 30th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and multiple government agencies to test the system update to ensure it is ready for soldiers.

In addition to software and hardware upgrades, the Patriot system is also getting a more user-friendly interface allowing soldiers to be trained faster.

While the service did not specify, the upgrade includes a 3D-based interface incorporated by Raytheon as part of Post Deployment Build-8 software upgrade for the Patriot. Raytheon said in 2019 it is working on fielding the Warfighter-Machine Interface into the software, which replaces pixelated shapes and a complex directory system with the type of 3-D visuals, easy-to-read status pages and search functions that any gamer would find familiar.

“I think it’s a lot more beneficial for incoming soldiers that are newer to the branch,” said Sgt. Angel Quinones, a 3-6 Patriot Fire Control Enhanced Operator Maintainer Soldier and Florida native.

“It’s a lot easier to pick up. It would be super easy to train with it as well, instead of (like) us training them how to memorize a full database, we just need to know key words now.”

3-6 ADATD is a locally based unit at WSMR, tasked with testing air defense equipment.

3-6 ADA Soldiers got first-hand experience with the new system, running it through multiple simulations, environments, and live fire tests to enable the US Army Test and Evaluation Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland to provide a thorough and complete evaluation on this new equipment upgrade.

First fielded in the 1980s, Patriot is designed to engage and intercept any aerial threats whether it be aircraft or tactical ballistic missiles under any weather conditions and in natural or induced environment.