Rep. Shuster Proposes to Keep Patriot GEM-T in Army Inventory

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Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) introduced legislation to the house that would prevent the Patriot Guided Enhanced Missile (GEM-T) from being demilitarized and phased out. The GEM-T, the United States’ lowest cost interceptor, is employed by 5 countries in addition to the United States and has been used prominently by Saudi Arabia against the Yemen-based Houthi rebels. The bill would prevent funding demilitarizing GEM-T interceptors until the Army evaluates its potential readiness and ability to meet operational requirements were the interceptors not to be recertified. The decision to not recertify the GEM-T was made in the 2013 Budget Control Act, when budget constraints required the Army to decide between recertifying the GEM-T missile or producing the newest variant of the Patriot interceptor- the Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) version. Rep. Shuster made the case for recertification, saying that “since Jan. 1, 2015, Patriot has intercepted more than 100 Tactical Ballistic Missiles during combat operations; more than 90 of those 100+ intercepts were with the GEM-T.” It is estimated that the cost of recertifying the GEM-T would be 5% of the cost of purchasing new PAC-3 MSE, and that recertification would help mitigate the effect of a dwindling inventory of Patriot missiles.