In the evaluation of longer-range GBAD systems, Patriot won out against SAMP/T in all four main categories, in some cases by a very clear margin, and in particular in the main category, effectiveness. In terms of costs, Patriot is the less expensive option of the two. Combined with its projected operating costs over 30 years, the total costs for the Patriot system will be around CHF 3.6 billion – significantly less than its competitor. It came alongside a $2.1 billion agreement to buy the Patriot surface-to-air missile system from U.S. group Raytheon.
The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Switzerland of five (5) Patriot Configuration-3+ Modernized Fire Units and related equipment. With the Patriot system, areas can be protected both independently and in combination with fighter aircraft. Patriot has an effective altitude of well over 20,000 metres (vertical) and an effective distance of well over 50 kilometres (horizontal). The area to be defended is 15,000 square kilometres; this can be achieved with five Patriot fire units.
Switzerland has been evaluating Patriot as part of the Swiss air defense solution for the “Air 2030” program. Raytheon Missiles & Defense, Rheinmetall Air Defence and Radar Systems, and Mercury Systems have agreed to collaborate to provide Patriot as part of Switzerland’s initiative to modernize the protection of its airspace. Once in service, Switzerland will be the 18th country to operate Patriot. Raytheon Missiles & Defense’s Patriot is the foundation of integrated air and missile defense for 17 nations.
The systems have new hardware and software components, added in 2017. The most modern/current variant of Patriot is called Patriot Configuration 3+, not PAC-3. PAC-3 is one of the missiles used by Configuration 3+, but as Patriot is an entire system, not just a missile, the Config 3+ enhancements involve a whole suite of upgrades and capabilities. One of them is enabling the system to take advantage of the PAC-3 MSE capabilities, but there are many other things, such as a better user interface and increased reliability, that Config 3+ has.