By Sgt. 1st Class Jimmie E. Dale, Test NCO, Air and Missile Defense Test Directorate, Fort Bliss, Texas
WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, New Mexico – Sixty-five Soldiers and 135 Government Civilians started a yearlong test on the latest Patriot Missile System upgrade. This upgrade is the newest one since 2018.
The Patriot Missile System is a highly mobile air defense guided missile system designed to engage and intercept any aerial threats whether it be aircraft or tactical ballistic missiles under any weather conditions and in natural or induced environment.
Starting in early June 2022, U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s (OTC) Air and Missile Defense Test Directorate (AMDTD) worked alongside Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 6th Air Defense Artillery Test Detachment (ADATD), 30th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and multiple government agencies to test the system update to ensure it is ready for Soldiers.
In addition to software and hardware upgrades, the Patriot system is also getting a more user-friendly interface allowing Soldiers to be trained faster.
“I think it’s a lot more beneficial for incoming Soldiers that are newer to the branch,” said Sgt. Angel Quinones, a 3-6 Patriot Fire Control Enhanced Operator Maintainer Soldier and Florida native.
“It’s a lot easier to pick up. It would be super easy to train with it as well, instead of (like) us training them how to memorize a full database, we just need to know key words now.”
3-6 ADATD is a locally based unit at WSMR, tasked with testing air defense equipment.
3-6 ADA Soldiers got first-hand experience with the new system, running it through multiple simulations, environments, and live fire tests to enable the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland to provide a thorough and complete evaluation on this new equipment upgrade.
About the U.S. Army Operational Test Command (USAOTC):
As the Army’s only independent operational tester based at Fort Hood (Now designated Fort Cavazos), Texas, USAOTC tests Army, joint, multi-service, and multi-domain warfighting systems in realistic operational environments; using skilled Soldiers to provide data on whether the systems are effective, suitable, and survivable. USAOTC is required by public law to test major systems before they are fielded to its ultimate customer — the American Soldier
About the Air and Missile Defense Test Directorate (AMDTD):
AMDTD plans and conducts independent operational testing of air and missile defense related programs. Functions as OTC forward integration element at Fort Bliss, Texas for Army, and Joint modernization efforts. A team centric organization focused on planning and executing credible Air & Missile Defense Operational Tests. AMDTD executes test missions with professionalism, honesty, and integrity (truth) to ensure our customers attain the best capability to outpace any threat.