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Patriot guarantees Germany's air and missile defense. Bruce R. Eggers, Raytheon`s Business Development Director for German Integrated Air and Missile Defense, explains the advantages and features of the world's leading air and missile defense system.

Germany recently made the decision to upgrade its Patriot to the most modern configuration currently available - Configuration 3+. Why is that significant?

Bruce R. Eggers, Raytheon's Business Development Director for German Integrated Air and Missile Defense (Photos: Ratyheon International)

Eggers: Germany, the Netherlands, as well as five other European nations and the US, entrust Europe's Integrated Air and Missile Defense to Patriot. By upgrading to Configuration 3+ Germany has the latest updates to address evolving threats and remain compatible with its allies for many years to come.

Can Patriot handle the next generation of threats?

Eggers: Yes. We are offering Germany our next generation Patriot solution which addresses advanced threats with a cutting-edge, 360-degree radar that has undergone more than 3,000 hours of testing. Commanders also have operational flexibility due to Patriot's missile mix of GEM-T interceptors and the PAC-3 MSE interceptor. Of course, those interceptors are already integrated into Patriot Configuration 3+. We have additional capability to integrate IRIS-T SL, subject to the permission of both the German and US governments.

Together with Rheinmetall's solution, all of this fits into a seamless architecture that can cover Germany's ground-based air defense needs.

Is next generation Patriot a German solution?

Eggers: Absolutely. Raytheon has a global strategic partnership with Rheinmetall, and they are integral to our solution. We talked about the opportunity to integrate IRIS-T SL already. Beyond that, and with the permission of the US and German governments, we could potentially incorporate German medium-range radar, and German made command, control and communications.

I'd also point out that MBDA currently does work on German Patriots, and the Patriots of other partners. We would not anticipate that changing.

Raytheon's new gallium nitride (GaN)-based AESA radar has proven its 360-degree capability, setting new standards in air defense.

Do you think there is any truth to the claim by your competitors that MEADS represents the future, while Patriot is the past?

Eggers: The reality is that MEADS is built on a foundation of obsolete technology that never made it through the formal systems qualification process. In 2011, the US Army decided to terminate participation in the program because MEADS was billions over-budget and years behind schedule. MEADS has since languished as technology marched on. Consider your mobile phone in 2011 and compare it to where it is today.

Patriot certainly has the same name that it had when it was first fielded - and even looks the same on the outside - but the resemblance ends there. Patriot's technology is constantly refreshed, tested and upgraded thanks to continued investment by the entire Patriot partnership.

Patriot is the air and missile defense system of choice for 17 countries. Four new countries have joined the partnership since November of 2017 - the Kingdom of Bahrain is our newest addition, joining in August. Those countries looked at the threat, evaluated the data, and made their choice for today and for the future. How many countries have selected MEADS?

Patriot is the backbone of integrated air and missile defense for 17 nations, which has been rigorously tested more than 2,500 times with U.S. Army oversight under real-world conditions.

But the threat is constantly evolving and improving. Isn't a new system - MEADS - required to address that?

Eggers: Threats have always evolved and improved. An air defense system must be constantly upgraded and enhanced in order to outpace threats, regardless of who makes it. Maintaining this constant pace of improvement would be incredibly expensive if one nation had to go it alone.

The 17 countries which collectively own more than 220 Patriot fire units pay for modernization and upgrades which are based on testing and lessons learned in ongoing operations. In addition to being obsolete, MEADS is untested against the spectrum of air and missile threats it claims to be able to address.

MEADS developmenthas a reported€8b price-tag, so let's assume that at some point in the future it does get built. But the threat isn't going to stand still. Is Germany prepared, as the only member of the MEADS Club to pay all of these bills?

You talk about Patriot being a proven solution, but there have been some high-profile stories about Patriot failing in combat. How do you respond?

Eggers: I'm not going to comment on specific operations, or the inaccuracy of press reports, but I think the facts speak for themselves. The governments of 17 nations have used facts and data to determine Patriot should be the backbone of their IAMD. The U.S. Army & other Patriot partners have conducted more than 1,500 flight tests and 3,200 ground tests on Patriot. Patriot was used by five nations in combat, and has intercepted more than 250 tactical ballistic missiles in combat. Facts matter, and the reality is Patriot saves lives.