Kuwait has awarded the US’ Raytheon a $523m contract to upgrade and modernise its air and missile defence system.

The award was made on behalf of Kuwait by the US Army under its foreign military sales programme, according to a statement released by the US Defence Department on 23 June.

The contracts calls for the upgrade of Kuwait’s six Patriot fire units.

It is understood the planned Kuwaiti upgrades, known as Configuration 3+, are an example of the evolutionary approach used to upgrade the Patriot system. “The Kuwaiti Configuration 3+ Patriots will have enhanced capability against a variety of threats, an improved Identification Friend or Foe capability and improved radar search,” the statement said.

A Patriot system provides a shield from advanced air defence threats, including aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Kuwait is one of 13 member-nations of the Patriot Partnership, an exclusive club comprising countries that own the Patriot air and missile defence system. Members invest in continuous research, development, technology, reviews and tests of the system.

Kuwait is understood to have launched a rapid review and overhaul of its security and surveillance systems in the wake of the suicide bombing on 26 June 2015 at a mosque, which claimed 27 lives.

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) indicated in April an intention to issue tenders for two contracts designed to reinforce Kuwait’s air defence facilities. One of the tenders entails the construction of two air defence sites and one central information coordination building.

Kuwait’s recent security-related investments include a tender for a DNA forensics database.

The GCC has also recently revived its efforts to look into building a joint missile defence system.