The U.S. Army used a new communications technology developed by Lockheed Martin for the first time.
Here's What We Know
The U.S. Army conducted Integrated Flight Test-2 in which Lockheed Martin's Remote Interceptor Guidance - 360 (RIG-360) device communicated with a PAC-3 MSE interceptor missile from the Patriot surface-to-air missile system. As a result, it successfully engaged the target cruise missile.
RIG-360 was designed to use target data from multiple sources. The prototype was integrated into Northrop Grumman's Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS).
The significance of the test is that the U.S. Army will now be able to use PAC-3 MSE interceptors without being tied to the radar station that is part of the Patriot surface-to-air missile system.
But that's not all. It is possible that in the future the US will be able to use Patriot missiles as part of other surface-to-air missile systems. In particular, in NASAMS. This assumption is suggested by the fact that three AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel were involved in the test. This Raytheon radar is part of the air defense system NASAMS.
The cost of a complete Patriot PAC-3 MSE battery is about $1 billion, but the RIG-360 communications module will save the military from having to deploy the entire Patriot system. It will only be enough to use the launcher as part of a surface-to-air missile system that supports the IBCS data transmission system.
Source: Shephard Media, Lockheed Martin, Army-Technology