Raytheon's (NYSE: RTN ) Patriot anti-aircraft missiles got a new lease on life, with the company announcing today that the U.S. Army has approved a second round of recertification for the Patriot -- a 29-year-old missile system that's been looking a bit long in the tooth.
According to Raytheon, Patriots originally given a 30-year lifespan can now be recertified and, when necessary, upgraded, with the effect being their service life can be extended to as much as 45 years "at a fraction of the cost of replacing them with alternative interceptors."
Raytheon notes that such recertification/upgrading has already begun, with the Army recently granting the company a $46.7 million contract to recertify and upgrade Patriot missile to the company's latest "GEM-T" configuration.
How many missiles will be affected by this particular contract was not disclosed in the press release, but globally, Raytheon has reportedly manufactured and delivered to customers more than 10,000 of the weapons. Aside from a few score fired in combat over the years, and 500 Patriots used in "successful test firings," most of these missiles are still out there, still upgradable, and still able to generate revenues for Raytheon.