The UAE's recent purchase of Patriot missiles is helping to fund major improvements to the Raytheon program.
UAE aids upgrade of Raytheon's Patriot missile system
The UAE is helping to take Raytheon's Patriot missile system into the digital age by funding a wide-ranging modernisation programme.
As a result of its 2008 contracts, worth US$3.8 billion (Dh13.95bn), for the missile defence system, the Emirates is playing a major role in upgrading the US missile defence system, including paying the bulk of a $400 million development fund provided by customer nations, officials said. The improvements include replacing analogue radar equipment with a digital radar processor, and the use of the new "Modern Man" control centre.
When the first missile batteries are delivered next summer, the UAE will have the most advanced Patriot system in operation, said Tim Glaeser, the vice president of integrated air and missile defence at Raytheon. "The Emiratis helped us complete some of the non-recurring engineering that allowed the modernisation of the Patriot programme to take place," he said. "They will have the most modernised version of Patriot that we are producing."
Patriot is the most well-known missile defence system because of its high-profile role against Scud missiles fired by Iraqi forces during the First Gulf War.
The UAE's purchase was the first international contract for the missile shield since a 1998 deal with Greece and provided a lifeline for Raytheon employees working on the Patriot programme.
Last week, Saudi Arabia also agreed to spend $1.7bn to upgrade its existing Patriot batteries as GCC states invest heavily in defensive weaponry. As one of 11 customer nations, the UAE is part of a "fair share conference" that assesses ways to improve the missile defence shield and makes recommendations to the US government accordingly, Mr Glaeser said.
Under the deal the UAE signed, Raytheon is the prime contractor and also provides the radar systems and GEM-T missiles, which explode near incoming missiles to destroy them.
In addition, Lockheed Martin is supplying its PAC-3 missiles, which are based on hit-to-kill technology and use the force of direct impact to destroy incoming missiles.