US tests upgraded Patriot system amid missile standoff with North Korea
Iran Press TV
Tue Nov 28, 2017 07:42AM
Engaged in a long-running standoff with North Korea over its ballistic missile program, the United States has tested an upgraded version of the Patriot missile system, which it says would help protect US allies against a wider range of threats.
The new missile, complete with next-generation radars, electronics, software and fire control technologies was tested recently by the US Army, Brigadier General Robert Rasch, Deputy Program Executive Officer, Missiles and Space, told Warrior in an interview published on Tuesday.
"This enables us to reach higher altitudes and increase range," said Rasch. "Our Patriot modernization effort reduces the size of the hardware on the weapon and gets the latest RAM (Reliability, Availability and Maintainability), faster processing speed, smaller motherboards and improved command and control."
In service since 1981, the missile system has undergone numerous upgrades aimed at keeping it effective against ballistic missiles more advanced than the ones it was initially designed to target.
The latest upgrade is part of the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 Missile Segment Enhancement (PAC-3 MSE) program and adds an enhanced phased array radar for better interception of airborne objects, including drones, rotary wing aircraft, cruise missiles, extended range tactical ballistic missiles and high-speed aircraft, according to the report.
"The PAC-3 MSE program includes flight software, flight testing, modification and qualification of subsystems, production planning and tooling, and support for full Patriot system integration," read a statement by Lockheed, the company behind the upgrade program.
South Korea and Japan are among the 12 countries that have purchased the Patriot missile system, originally developed by weapons manufacturer Raytheon.
In an attempt to protect the two regional allies from what it calls a looming missile threat from North Korea, the US has also deployed the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system to the Korean peninsula.
Russia and China have expressed concern over the controversial move, arguing that the advanced radars the missile systems come with could be used to scan Russian and Chinese territories instead.
South Korean media claim that Beijing has asked Seoul to build a wall around the west and northwest sides of the THAAD site in Seongju County in North Gyeongsang province to block the radar.
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