WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The first missile fired, the Patriot, destroys threats via the force of the collision. The lower-cost combat-proven second missile, known as a GEM-T interceptor, flies close to threats and explodes, destroying the missile or aircraft in the process, the release explained.
"Patriot users around the globe are currently employing interceptor [missile] mixes in ongoing combat operations to increase cost-effectiveness and provide commanders with operational flexibility," Raytheon Vice President of Integrated Air and Missile Defense Ralph Acaba said in the release on Thursday.
The Patriot upgrade was funded by a 13-nation partnership, and representatives from seven of those nations on hand to witness the test at White Sands Missile Range in the US state of New Mexico, the release stated.
The Patriot missile has been steadily improved since its debut in the 1991 Persian Gulf war, when it helped protect Israel and Saudi Arabia from Scud missiles fired by Iraq.
Various models of the Patriot have been used in more than 200 combat engagements, 1,400 flight tests and 3,000-plus ground tests, the release explained.