Q: What is a Post-Deployment Build? And why does it matter?
A: A PDB, as it’s called, refers to the testing and evaluation of incremental hardware and software updates made to the Patriot system since its inception. In this case, the numbers 8.1 refer to deployment of the first incremental enhancements to the eighth major upgrade since Patriot was first fielded.
These upgrades are necessary because threats evolve and so does the technology developed to counter them. And it’s important to continually upgrade a system like Patriot while preserving the core functionality that’s one of the main reasons why you would acquire Patriot in the first place.
Our basic design principle here is to keep what works and then build upon and enhance those features so, together, they form the newest baseline configuration of the system. That way we can service and sustain Patriot for many years to come.
Q: What are the main hardware updates that passed the recent testing and evaluation?
A: The hardware enhancements include changes in the engagement control station, the information control center, in the communication relay group and also the radar set. Notably, they’ll be fielding what's called the digital exciter.
This replaces a core subsystem within the Patriot radar, changing its configuration into a brand-new digital product that leverages lessons learned from multiple different systems—not just our years and years of Patriot experience, but also modern circuit card manufacturing techniques and design principles that make a system far more reliable, far easier to maintain and provides room to grow and evolve along with threats far more effectively than the analog version does.