The Benefits of Membership

Knowledge is power: Patriot countries learn from decades of expertise

The Benefits of Membership

A Patriot radar stands guard in the night.

It’s one of the most exclusive clubs in the world.

Admission is automatic for any country that owns the Patriot™ air and missile defense system. And ownership comes with continuous learning, based on real-world data from 2,500 search-and-track flight tests; dozens of annual missile firings; numerous training exercises; and ongoing deployments in a wide range of environmental and operational conditions.

“It’s vital that we constantly add capabilities to the Patriot system to stay ahead of evolving global threats,” said Dave Hanley, chief executive of Raytheon Saudi Arabia.

Patriot is the cornerstone of air and missile defense for the U.S. and 16 other allied nations in Europe, the Pacific Rim and the Middle East. Countries upgrade the system regularly in order to field the most advanced Patriot configuration.

“At any point in time, we have a full pipeline of technologies in various stages of maturity,” said Hanley. “As they are tested and certified for operational use, countries can acquire these new capabilities as system upgrades. The countries fund the Patriot modernization projects in proportion to the number of systems they own, so they can obtain upgraded systems at a fraction of what it would cost for a standalone acquisition.”

Countries have the option of joining the Patriot club and sharing costs to develop Patriot enhancements. The countries then upgrade the system regularly in order to field the most advanced Patriot configuration.

“As conflicts around the world evolve, Raytheon is continuously adding new features to the Patriot system,” said Dawn Stanvick, Patriot Systems program area director. “These improvements are often initially developed and incorporated into new-production Patriot systems being produced for our international partners.” 

The upgrade path for Patriot is mapped out at the International Engineering Services Program annual review. Since 1992, senior military officials from Patriot owner nations have gathered there to share information and vote on the budget for new technology investments. The group also benefits from each other, trading operational knowledge and best practices.

One such best practice is Human Systems Integration.

The U.S. Army recognizes the soldier as a key component in operating systems. In other words, HSI is the voice of the soldier.

For a system to operate optimally, the operator must perform rapidly and efficiently. HSI dictates that decisions made with the operator in mind enhance a system and reduce long-term cost. The warfighter machine interface, or WMI, is command-and-control technology for the Patriot system that makes operating easier by the way data is shown on screens.

Nate Jones worked with Raytheon's Patriot air and missile defense system while serving as a Chief Warrant Officer. Now he is an authority on air and missile defense for the company and makes sure the voice of the soldier is in the Patriot program. Jones said that user feedback strongly influences Patriot modernization.

“We want gaming-style technology that looks and feels like what soldiers use in their free time,” Jones said. “The advanced technologies warfighters use to save lives in combat or other operational missions should be as intuitive as the technologies they use to play video games.”

WMI reduces operator training time. It cuts long-term costs. And it’s what users want, reinforcing that membership has its privileges.

Published On: 09/26/2019
Last Updated: 03/23/2020