Raytheon has tested several upgrades to the Patriot missile system that will enable it to better detect UAVs, manned aircraft and missiles.
Under an internal development project to enhance the Patriot system, Raytheon upgraded its main radar array with gallium nitride (GaN)- based, active electronically scanned array (AESA) technology, according to a company news release.
Raytheon reported completing several recent milestones, including finishing construction of the AESA main array structure, radar shelter, integrating receivers and a radar digital processor into the radar shelter, and testing the radar's cooling sub-system.
The GaN-based AESA radar uses three antenna arrays mounted on a mobile radar shelter to provide 360-degree coverage. The main AESA array is a bolt-on replacement for the current Patriot antenna. The GaN-based AESA array measures roughly 9 feet wide by 13 feet tall. The new rear panel arrays are a quarter the size of the main array, and let the system look behind and to the sides of the main array to offer Patriot the ability to engage threats in all directions.
Raytheon is now building a GaN-based AESA, full-size, main panel radar array. Raytheon is "on track to have a full-scale main array prototype operational in early 2016—just 24 months after the company started building it," the company said.