Kuwait orders Patriot missiles worth $ 156m


The two deals follow recent orders during the first half of the year from both the Taipei and Seoul governments totaling $ 320 million. Raytheon anticipates a "significant resurgence" in the near future of its Patriot programs, both domestically and internationally, Sanjay Kapoor, vice president of Raytheon’s Patriot program, told AP in an interview ahead of the ongoing Farnborough International Air Show.



To date, Raytheon has supplied 10 foreign governments with its Patriot program since 1984, including its latest customer, South Korea. The countries that have purchased the program include Taiwan, Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Greece. Kuwait’s contract, authorized by the US government, is worth $ 156 million and will provide an upgraded radar system to better discriminate against potential targets.



With tensions in the Middle East and Asia, an increasing number of countries have expressed interest in the Patriot program, Kapoor said. The Patriot is a medium- to long-range missile used to counter threats, including aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. Its radar tracks airborne objects and then displays them as symbols on a screen. Its operator than has seconds to decide whether to override the machine, or let it fire.



The system – developed by Raytheon’s Integrated Defense System – initially ran into several battle management problems during the first Gulf War and during the early stages of current operations in Iraq, according to John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.com, a military information Website.



The Patriot was blamed for the deaths of three coalition aviators who were killed in 2004, including two crew members of a British Royal Air Force Tornado fighter jet and the pilot of an American F-16 fighter jet, built by Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corp. Victoria Samson, a defense research analyst for the Center for Defense Information and a critic of the Patriot program, said it’s worrisome that foreign governments are following US footsteps in buying an air defense and missile system that has proven to have technical limitations that prohibit it from accurately discerning objects in "crowded air spaces".



Raytheon continues to improve its technology and works with the Army to assess new needs, said Guy Shields, a Raytheon spokesman. The Patriot is the cornerstone of the Army’s air defense and missile system. Even today, it is unclear what went wrong in 2004 leading to the misguided missile hits, Pike said. But the fact that customers still purchase the system is a sign Raytheon has improved the Patriot’s capability, he said. "People need to trust their weapons," said Pike. They "want to buy something that


is combat proven." Aside from the latest deal, the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company said it has been "actively working" with a number of countries including Turkey and the United Arab Emirates on future sales of the Patriot program.



The $ 38.5 million contract with South Korea was awarded to a joint venture between Raytheon and German missile company LFK, a member of the multinational MBDA Group. Under the deal, South Korea is buying a piece of Germany’s Patriot program. Raytheon will then upgrade the 64 Patriot missiles to provide enhanced precision targeting with hit-to-kill capability.



The German government agreed to sell a part of its program after determining it had an excess of Patriot missiles based on their current and future needs. The deal was approved by the US government. Shares of Raytheon fell 37 cents to close at $ 56.67 on Monday. The stock has traded between $ 52.83 and $ 67.49 in the past year.


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