The Syrian civil war and the resulting regional destabilization has led to a renewed demand for Patriot missile batteries. Raytheon, the missile’s manufacturer, hopes to add to the list of countries protected by Patriot missile defense systems as the company begins to harvest technologies from Lockheed Martin’s canceled Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS).
That Raytheon should end up with MEADS technology is an interesting story.
More than 200 Patriot fire units are spread across 12 nations, including the U.S. But sales and improvements to the Patriot missile system have been stagnant for about 10 years. The Patriot program was highly jeopardized with the joint development program of MEADS, which was supposed to replace Patriot. But with cost overruns and sequestration, the U.S. Army recently decided it couldn’t afford MEADS. So it turned back to the Patriot missile system.
Raytheon is now happily using MEADS program developments to improve the Patriot. The US poured over $800 million into MEADS in the past two years even though it had no plans to field the program. Defense Department officials, responding to critics, say the money put into MEADS wasn’t wasted – it made sense to continue the development program to harvest new technologies that could bolster other systems like the Patriot.
Patriot Missiles in Turkey
The Syrian civil war and the general proliferation of ballistic missiles in Asia and the Middle East have spurred global interest in equipment that can shoot down such rockets. Patriot missiles are the weapon of choice. Six Patriot missile batteries are now operating under NATO command and control in southern Turkey. The Alliance rapidly deployed these assets in order to augment Turkey’s air defense capabilities to defend the population.
Two Dutch batteries are operating in Adana, two German batteries are in Kahramanmaras and two batteries from the United States are located in Gaziantep. Together, these Patriot batteries are actively defending 3.5 million people in Turkey against missile attacks.
More Countries to Get Patriots
Raytheon appears to be on the front end of a lot more Patriot Missile business. Negotiations to sell Patriot systems to Kuwait are near conclusion, according to Raytheon’s Sanjay Kapoor, vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense. Pentagon officials estimate the Kuwait agreement for Patriot missiles will have a value of as much as $4.2 billion.
In related news, the Pentagon confirmed last week that F-16 fighter jets and Patriot missile interceptors will remain in Jordan after the end of a joint military exercise this month. The United States is carefully monitoring the spillover of violence from Syria to its southern neighbor Jordan. Jordan is a key US ally in the region and one of only two Arab states to have signed a peace treaty with Israel.
“Secretary (Chuck) Hagel has approved a request from the Kingdom of Jordan for a detachment of F-16s and Patriot Missiles to remain in Jordan following the conclusion of the Eager Lion Exercise,” spokesman George Little said in a statement.
Currently, Raytheon is continuing to work to add to its list of countries that own Patriot. Raytheon is in serious talks with Kuwait and Qatar. According to Raytheon, Poland is also very much interested in acquiring the Patriot Missile system.
You might say things are looking rosy at Raytheon right now.