The company says more than $400 million has been invested into making the Patriot system faster, smarter and tougher. Components have gotten smaller, computer chips are an eighth of the size they were in 2006, and new units are built in an upgraded facility that uses computer-controlled tools.
Glaeser said the company has streamlined production significantly, making it cheaper to build the Patriot system.
For instance, he said the company had driven the cost of the system’s complex antenna down 300 percent, making it possible to swap the whole antenna out if it was not working, rather than having to waste time and money troubleshooting its 5,800 parts.
Raytheon doesn’t just earn by building the systems. It also makes money through constant software and other upgrades and maintenance. In June, the company won a $116 million contract from the U.S. Army to provide engineering services, which company officials say will allow them to work on enhancements funded jointly by the U.S. military and international customers.
All Patriot users participate in a special council that meets yearly to consider engineering changes.
MORE USERS, LOWER COSTS
Will Lovell, director of production in the Army’s Patriot project office, said the international partnership helped push down the cost of owning and operating the system for all users.
The addition of each new user helped reduce the cost per unit for participating country since the program’s baseline costs remained the same, Lovell told Reuters.