NATO secures 1,000 Patriot missiles for Europe in $5.6 billion deal

What better way to reaffirm NATO’s continued air defense priorities in the New Year than to commit a significant sum of $5.6 billion (€5.1 billion) to the cause?

The military alliance’s Support and Supply Service has secured 1,000 Patriots Guidance Enhanced Missiles (GEM-Ts) by contractor COMLOG, a joint venture between RTX company Raytheon and MBDA, two of the world’s preeminent international missile manufacturers.

Beneficiaries include Germany, the Netherlands, Romania and Spain. All but Spain contribute to the German-led European Sky Shield Initiative, a joint acquisition program for collective air defense established in October 2022. Despite Spain’s place outside the initiative, the Iberian country still plans to invest in the latest PAC-3 variant of the Patriot family of missiles – a long-standing staple of Western defense arsenals.

GEM-T, the Patriot Advanced Capability 2 (PAC-2) missile interceptor enhanced to combat ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as enemy aircraft, is the primary action factor for the widely deployed Patriot air and missile defense system.

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In addition, the GEM-T (track) missiles are distinguished from the GEM-C (cruise) variant by the track-via-missile guidance system that allows for mid-course correction commands. The missile has a range of 70 kilometers (km) and a maximum height of more than 24 km. The minimum flight time is less than nine seconds while the maximum is three and a half minutes.

US forces previously deployed Patriot missile systems during Operation Iraqi Freedom – the initial ground invasion of Iraq in 2003. The systems were deployed in Kuwait and destroyed several enemy surface-to-surface missiles using the new PAC-3 and GEM-T missiles.

“Following Russia’s war against Ukraine, NATO has deployed Patriot missile batteries to protect its Allies on its eastern flank. NATO allies have also delivered Patriot systems to Ukraine and are committed to further strengthening the defense of Ukraine,” NATO said in a statement on January 3, 2024. statement.

Europe’s Patriot production centers are located throughout Germany

“The contract strengthens industrial and military capabilities in Europe. The volume of orders will allow MBDA to establish a production facility for Patriot missiles in Germany, as well as production of important sub-components,” said the CEO of MBDA Germany, Thomas Gottschildrevealed.

Before the NATO takeover in October 2023, Army Technology spoke to Bayern-Chemie, a subsidiary of European contractor MBDA Germany, at its Bavarian ramjet facility. There, the company discussed its plans to re-enter Raytheon’s industrial supplier base by providing rocket engines for PAC-2 missiles, as it had done between 1987 and 1996.

Regarding its Patriot commitments, MBDA Germany head of sales and business development, Michael Rieder, noted that “we have a lot of infrastructure here [in Bavaria] for this.”

Rieder also noted the use of PAC-2 and PAC-3 over the next decade. We can expect dual use of both versions for the next ten years, until PAC-2 is phased out in 2032.

This signals MBDA Germany’s significant ambition to position itself at the center of the European Patriot missile supply chain, as GlobalData predicts that Europe will be the leading geographic segment in the global missile defense market, garnering a 31.1% revenue share.

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