US Army Begins Yearlong Test of Upgraded Patriot Missile System
The US Army has commenced its yearlong test on the latest Patriot Missile System upgrades at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), New Mexico.
Various software and hardware updates have been applied to the system. The more user-friendly Warfighter-Machine Interface (WMI) was also developed for its control system to train soldiers faster.
WMI offers a simplified, 3D gaming-style view of complex defense data for operators on the battlefield. It features status pages and search functions to replace the system’s pixelated shapes and complex directory.
The test included 65 troops and 135 government personnel.
‘Easier to Pick Up’
WSMR’s 3-6 Air Defense Artillery Test Detachment unit was tasked to lead the assessment. The team obtained first-hand experience with the weapons system, including running it through multiple simulations, environments, and live-fire tests.
“I think it’s a lot more beneficial for incoming Soldiers that are newer to the branch,” Sgt. Angel Quinones said.
“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 keywords now,” the sergeant added.
The preliminary examination of the update started in early June this year to ensure that the capability is ready.
It was led by personnel from US Army Operational Test Command’s Air and Missile Defense Test Directorate and multiple government agencies.
Patriot Missile System: Overview
The Patriot Missile System (MIM-104) is one of the US Army’s primary air and missile defense systems. It was conceptualized in 1961 and entered full-rate production in 1980.
The system was initially designed as an anti-aircraft system, but later iterations are now capable of engaging cruise and ballistic missiles, loitering munitions, and aircraft in all weather conditions and environments.
Today, 18 countries operate the Patriot Missile system, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Current Patriot variants are compatible with PAC-2 and PAC-3 interceptors, successors to the PAC-1 missiles deployed by older Patriot versions. The newer PAC missiles have been upgraded to keep pace with ongoing Patriot updates.