Assessing Present and Future GEM-T Missile Production for Patriot Systems for Ukraine

Patriot PAC-3 MSE missile launch / All photos: U.S. DOD
Patriot PAC-3 MSE missile launch / All photos: U.S. DOD

The GEM-T is the primary missile for the Patriot SAM system, designed to intercept aircraft and other aerodynamic targets at distances of up to 160 km

When it comes to Ukraine's need for Patriot surface-to-air missile systems, the question arises not only where to obtain the systems themselves, but also where to procure the missiles for them.

With both the MSE anti-missiles, of which around 500 are produced annually, and the GEM-T surface-to-air missiles required for the destruction of aerodynamic targets up to 160 km away, are needed.

Read more: ​The UK Joins Germany in Searching for Patriot, Other SAM Systems for Ukraine

It should be noted that these missiles are manufactured by different companies: MSE by Lockheed Martin and GEM-T by Raytheon. As stated by the latter company, the production rate is 20 GEM-T missiles per month.

These data were announced by Tom Laliberty, Raytheon’s president of land and air defense systems, as cited by DefenseNews.

But thanks to the fact that in Europe, at the facilities of the joint venture between Raytheon and MBDA, additional GEM-T missiles will begin to be produced, a total of 35 such missiles are planned to be produced by 2027.

Patriot missiles comparison, Defense Express
Patriot missiles comparison / Infographics credit: Center for Strategic and International Studies

It is worth reminding that the commencement of European production resulted from a guaranteed order of 1000 GEM-T missiles from NATO. At the moment, the current reality is precisely 20 GEM-T per month, or 240 missiles for aircraft destruction per year.

Let's recall the standard composition of one Patriot battery: up to 8 launchers, one radar, a command post, as well as support and communication vehicles. Each launcher is loaded with 4 GEM-T missiles. Thus, a full Patriot battery is loaded with only GEM-T missiles, totaling 32 such missiles.

The PAC-3 MSE missile, Defense Express
The PAC-3 MSE missile

Of course, in reality, the situation is somewhat different, and there are usually fewer launchers in a battery. Additionally, efforts are made to mix GEM-T and MSE missiles. But if considering solely the GEM-T, then to simultaneously load all 60 American Patriot batteries with these missiles, 1920 units are required. Or eight years of work for Raytheon at the current pace.

Earlier Defense Express reported about considering of supplying David's Sling to Ukraine which is a potential alternative to Patriot and SAMP/T systems.

Read more: Germany's Initiative: Seeking Patriot Systems Worldwide for Ukraine - Locations, Numbers, and Potential Challenges