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US State Department Approves Sale of PATRIOT Configuration-3+ Modernized Fire Units to Spain


US State Department Approves Sale of PATRIOT Configuration-3+ Modernized Fire Units to Spain

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Spanish Army’s Patriot PAC-2+ M903 Missile Launcher
Spanish Army’s Patriot PAC-2+ M903 Missile Launcher

The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Spain of PATRIOT Configuration-3+ Modernized Fire Units and related equipment for an estimated cost of $2.8 billion. The Government of Spain has requested to buy four (4) PATRIOT Configuration-3+ Modernized Fire Units consisting of: fifty-one (51) PATRIOT Advanced Capability (PAC) 3 Missile Segment Enhanced (MSE) missiles (includes one (1) Fly-to-Buy missile); twenty-four (24) PATRIOT M903 launch stations; four (4) AN/MPQ-65 radar sets; four (4) AN/MSQ-132 Engagement Control Stations; two (2) Information Coordination Central (ICC); eight (8) Antenna Mast Groups; four (4) Electrical Power Plants; and four (4) Energy Power Units.

Also included is communications equipment; tools and test equipment; range and test programs; support equipment and services comprising Skids kits, telemetry kits, generators, publications, and technical documentation; training equipment; spare and repair parts; Repair and Return; personnel training; New Equipment Training (NET); Technical Assistance Field Team (TAFT) support; Flight Test Support and Targets; U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance, engineering, and logistics support services; Systems Integration and Checkout (SICO) and Battalion Demonstration; field office support; and other related elements of logistics and program support. The prime contractors will be Raytheon Corporation, Tewksbury, MA, and Lockheed Martin, Dallas, TX.

Spain Army MIM-104 Patriot Surface-to-air Missile Launcher
Spain Army MIM-104 Patriot Surface-to-air Missile Launcher. (Photo by Spain MoD)

The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, the primary such system used by the United States Army and several allied states. It is manufactured by the U.S. defense contractor Raytheon and derives its name from the radar component of the weapon system. The AN/MPQ-53 at the heart of the system is known as the “Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target”, which is a backronym for “Patriot”. The PAC-3 missile is smaller than the cheaper anti-aircraft version (PAC-2), thus a Patriot launcher can hold sixteen PAC 3 missiles, versus four PAC-2s. A PAC 2 missile weighs about a ton, a PAC-3 weighs about a third of that. While each Patriot launcher, loaded with PAC-3 missiles, can only defend against ballistic missiles approaching within 20 kilometers, the Patriot radar can detect targets out to a hundred kilometers.

Spain’s geographic location sits on the border of Europe and Africa. Primary threats to Spain include failed and failing states in North Africa, as well as terrorists operating in the region. The country joined NATO in 1982 and has cooperated with the U.S. in the framework of the U.S.-Spain Missile Defense Technical Group. Spain has three Patriot batteries, which were purchased from Germany in 2004 (PAC-2) and 2014 (PAC-3). Each battery has twelve launchers and one AN/MPQ-65 radar. The Spanish Army had previously planned to upgrade its Patriot PAC-2+ systems to the PAC-3+ level; however, the DSCA notification suggests that new production PAC-3+ systems will now be delivered to the Spanish Army instead. Patriot batteries are a part of the 73rd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment of the Spanish Army, which has its headquarters in Valencia. One of the three Spanish Patriot PAC-2+ batteries is currently stationed continuously on the NATO Active Fence mission in Turkey.

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