The U.S. Army is spending $4.5 billion to produce more Patriot missiles

The U.S. Army is hoping it can replenish its supply of Patriot missiles and keep overall costs down with one major order.

This past week the Army announced it awarded a $4.5 billion contract to Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control for the production of 870 interceptor missiles for the Patriot system, as well as “associated hardware.” The new contract will focus on speeding up the production of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement weapon at a time when it is in high demand on the battlefield. 

“This multiyear contract award for the PAC-3 MSE missile follows through on the Army’s commitment to stabilize and expand our production capability for this critical weapon system, which is vital to supporting the US Army and Joint Force, along with Ukraine and other allies around the world” Douglas Bush, the Army’s Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, said in an Army release on the news. 

The multiyear contract is aimed at keeping production up, and keeping procurement costs down. This approach ends up being cheaper than annual renewals, according to Brig. Gen. Frank Lozano, Program Executive Officer Missiles and Space. In its announcement the Army said the contract will ramp up production, and provide “stability and predictability” going forward. 

Given the rise of militaries and non-state actors using cheaply made uncrewed aerial systems and missiles for constant and large-scale attacks, the U.S. military is both looking for new and more cost-effective counters and boosting production to keep its own munition stocks full. 

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That is important given the demand for the Patriot system and its missiles, both domestically and internationally. As our colleagues at The War Zone noted earlier this year, Ukraine used a Patriot missile system to take out a Russian radar jet, an airborne early warning and control A-50 Mainstay in January. The importance of the Patriot missiles to Ukraine’s air defense is such that the U.S. promised to rush the munitions to Kyiv as part of an aid package in April. Earlier this month, the White House announced it would “reprioritize” Patriot missile deliveries originally meant for other countries to Ukraine. The U.S. cited Kyiv’s urgent need for the munitions as the driving factor behind the decision.

Additionally, U.S. troops overseas have been using the weapons systems recently as well. American forces used a Patriot system to shoot a portion of the hundreds of missiles and drones fired by Iran and its partners against Israel in April. The Army crew using the Patriot, based in Iraqi Kurdistan, is credited with taking out a ballistic missile over Erbil (the Navy meanwhile took out 4-6).

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Nicholas Slayton

Contributing Editor

Nicholas Slayton is a Contributing Editor for Task & Purpose. In addition to covering breaking news, he writes about history, shipwrecks, and the military’s hunt for unidentified anomalous phenomenon (formerly known as UFOs). He currently runs the Task & Purpose West Coast Bureau from Los Angeles.