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Patriot Missile Long-Range Air-Defence System

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Khafee

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The Patriot Missile: The Ultimate Missile Shield (Or the Ultimate Paper Tiger?)
March 30, 2018
Today Patriot is on the front lines across the world, from South Korea and Taiwan to Turkey, Israel and Yemen.

by Kyle Mizokami

For nearly forty years, one air-defense system has protected the airspace above U.S. forces. Continuously upgraded since introduction, today the Patriot missile system protects against the full spectrum of flying threats, from ballistic missiles to consumer-grade quadcopter drones.

The design of Patriot goes back as far as 1965, when then secretary of defense Robert McNamara authorized development of a new air-defense missile, SAM-D. SAM-D was set to replace the Nike Hercules surface-to-air missile systems and protect against medium- to high-altitude threats. Patriot was intended to be a new-generation system that would incorporate new technologies, including computer control, multiple target engagement, and the ability to operate in an electronic-countermeasures-heavy environment.

As ambitious as SAM-D was, it had a lengthy development cycle. In 1973 it was nearly terminated by Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger, who, among other things, believed that a long-range surface-to-air missile was an Air Force responsibility and that the system was overly complicated. By 1975, it had proved its ability to shoot down targets, and around then was renamed MIM-104 Patriot. Patriot stands for Phased Array Tracking Intercept of Target, although it’s unclear what came first—the name or the acronym. Patriot entered low-rate production in 1980, with the missile first fielded in 1985.

Unlike the older Nike Hercules system, Patriot was truck-mounted and mobile. A firing battery could roll into position and be ready to fire in a less than an hour. A battery consisted of a phased array radar set, engagement control station, electric power plant, an antenna mast group, communications relay group, and up to eight launching stations controlling four missiles each.

Like all medium- to long-range SAMs, Patriot is a radar-guided missile and relies on radar to provide airspace surveillance, target detection, classification and tracking, and finally missile guidance to the actual missile. The AN/MPQ-53 radar system is used for PAC-2, the antiaircraft version of Patriot, while the AN/MPQ-65 radars is used by the ballistic-missile defense version, PAC-3. Both radars use passive electronically scanned array radars that use flat, billboard-like radar arrays similar to those on an Aegis cruiser or destroyer.

The first series of Patriot missiles was approximately seven feet long and had a speed that exceeded Mach 3, and had a range of forty-three miles. The two-thousand-pound missile had a forty-three-pound blast-fragmentation high-explosive warhead designed to destroy enemy aircraft and missiles by detonating in their proximity. This was quickly superseded by an improved version, PAC-1, which entered service in 1988. An even newer version, PAC-2, was introduced in 1990, just in time for Patriot’s baptism by fire.

In August 1990, Iraqi president Saddam Hussein invaded and annexed neighboring Kuwait. This triggered an enormous response by the West, including two Army corps sent to defend Saudi Arabia and later liberate Kuwait. Patriot missiles covered marshalling coalition forces, based in Saudi Arabia. After the air campaign began in January 1991, the Iraqi military began launching Scud short-range ballistic missiles against Saudi and later Israeli targets.

Patriot batteries engaged incoming Scud missiles, and at first it was believed that the missiles were hitting their targets. President George H. W. Bush exclaimed that the Patriot had successfully shot down forty-one out of forty-two missiles. This was later scaled back to 80 percent of missiles aimed at Saudi Arabia and 50 percent aimed at Israel. Later the claims were scaled back even further, to 70 and 40 percent, respectively. Eventually it was conceded that very few of the Patriots destroyed their targets.

What happened? Patriot missiles intercepted through proximity detonation, using their warhead to knock a target out of the sky. The best explanation was that the locally produced Scuds, also known as Al Hussein, suffered from a design flaw that caused them to disintegrate on reentry. This created a larger target cloud of debris and warhead that the Patriot’s proximity warhead could not successfully engage. Critics also charged the missile’s proximity fuse was designed to engage aircraft, but could not engage ballistic-missile warheads moving at high mach speeds.

In light of PAC-2’s shortcomings, a new version was designed to exclusively engage ballistic missile warheads. PAC-3 incorporates “hit-to-kill” technology, destroying ballistic-missile warheads though direct impact rather than proximity explosion. PAC-3 is much smaller than previous versions, with a Patriot launcher able to keep sixteen PAC-3s at the ready where it can only keep four PAC-2s. With a smaller missile comes a shorter range, however, and PAC-3 has a range of only twelve miles.

Today Patriot is on the front lines across the world, from South Korea and Taiwan to Turkey, Israel and Yemen. Israeli Patriot batteries have shot down three drones operated by Hamas and Syria. In addition, Saudi Patriot units have shot down missiles aimed at the country by Houthi rebels. Wary of North Korean ballistic missiles, Japan has deployed Patriot missiles to protect key locations, from downtown Tokyo to the distant Ryukyu Islands.

Last week, Gen. David Perkins, commander of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command, revealed that a U.S. ally had used a Patriot missile to shoot down a commercial quality quadcopter drone. While shooting down a $200 drone with a $3.4 million missile was widely derided as a waste of money, it is admittedly pretty impressive that the Patriot’s radar was able to pick up and direct the missile to successfully destroy such a small object.

Although a replacement for Patriot, when the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) was developed the U.S. Army opted out of the program, leaving Germany as the only enthusiastic customer for the new air-defense system. It seems likely, however, that MEADS technology will eventually be rolled into future versions of Patriot, especially as threats from ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, aircraft and now even drones continue to evolve. The missile first greenlighted by Robert Strange McNamara will easily serve for another decade.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009, he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.

 

Khafee

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Florida Air Defenders adopt new training to counter ballistic missiles
By 2nd Lt. James Lanza
May 03, 2019


Maj. Gen. Timothy Sheriff, Commander of the 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command hands graduation certificates to the 12 Soldiers of the 164th Air Defense Artillery Brigade who completed the Patriot Training Program, designed to teach Army National Guard air defenders how to properly integrate systems such as Patriot Surface to Air Missiles and THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) within their commands, during a ceremony at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center.

Maj. Gen. Timothy Sheriff, Commander of the 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command hands graduation certificates to the 12 Soldiers of the 164th Air Defense Artillery Brigade who completed the Patriot Training Program, designed to teach Army National Guard air defenders how to properly integrate systems such as Patriot Surface to Air Missiles and THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) within their commands, during a ceremony at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center. (Photo Credit: 2nd Lt. James Lanza)

STARKE, Fla. - Today, the 164th Air Defense Artillery Brigade recognized the accomplishments of 12 Soldiers graduating from the 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command's Patriot Training Program during a ceremony at the Florida Army National Guard's Regional Training Institute at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center.

The program, designed to teach Army National Guard air defenders how to properly integrate systems such as Patriot Surface-to-Air Missiles and THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) within their existing command, is the product of a growing challenge air defense units have faced in past years.

Due to a major increase in threats, the air defense artillery community has faced an uptick in mobilizations and missions. International crises have demanded the expedited and unplanned mobilizations of assets such as THAAD and Patriot weapon platforms, designed to intercept and destroy enemy ballistic missiles. The need to quickly integrate these systems into existing commands have proven to be one of the major challenges to Army National Guard air defense artillery brigades, spurring the creation of the Patriot Training Program.

"This program is designed to fill a capability void for National Guard air defense brigades, giving them Patriot and THAAD experience, which we had previously lacked," said Maj. Gen. Timothy Sheriff, Commander of the 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command. "Air Defense is one of the top modernization priorities of the Army. As we move toward multi-domain operations, we're required to enhance our capabilities and look at new ways to defend the force."

In the past, weapon platforms such as the Avenger Air Defense System, were unable to integrate other platforms such as Patriot or THAAD into their command, with each system needing its own separate command and control elements. The Patriot Training Program ensures each system can be quickly streamlined under a single command.

"We have now added high and medium altitude air defense knowledge as a critical competency to our missions. This knowledge is critical for ensuring we are successful at our brigades current and future missions," said Col. Sean Boyette, Commander of the 164th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. "This is a key requirement as we prepare for our mobilization to Europe, where we will provide command and control of Patriot assets."

While this training added a new capability to the unit, many Soldiers highlighted how the program enhanced their capacity to operate in a joint and multinational environment.

"After this program, I'm better equipped to speak the joint language and integrate Patriots, not only for our U.S. Soldiers, but also our joint and international partners overseas," said Maj. Scott Peterson, a recent Patriot Training Program graduate.

After the moment of recognition for the new graduates, Soldiers were quick to return to training for their upcoming mobilization in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, knowing their training plays a key role in the furthering of our national interests.

"These Soldiers step away from this training as subject matter experts on Patriot procedures and air battle management, while getting experience on theater air and missile defense systems and integrating joint theater assets," said Sheriff. "This training fits into the U.S. National Defense Strategy and signifies that we have the capabilities to protect and defend our nation and its allies around the world."

 

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House panel wants cheaper Patriot missile
By: Jen Judson
05 June 2019

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U.S. Army Privates 1st Class Danica Sasakura and Dean Werner, 1-1 Air Defense Artillery, Charley Battery Patriot Missile operators, perform pre-launch checks on a Patriot missile launcher as part of a field training exercise on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 26. Kadena hosts the largest combat wing in the Pacific and includes U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps assets.


WASHINGTON — A House panel wants the Army to come up with a plan to get a cheaper missile for the Patriot air-and-missile defense system.

The House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee is pushing in its mark-up of the fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill — released June 3 — for the Army to bring options to Congress for a low-cost interceptor to be used in the Raytheon-made Patriot system. That is because the most updated variant is roughly $5 million a shot, and a cheaper missile would be attractive to foreign customers with Patriot systems.

In recent years, reports have cropped up, for example, of Patriot missiles being used to take out cheap, commercial, off-the-shelf drone threats in the Middle East, fueling the desire to have a less expensive interceptor in the mix.

“With ballistic missile threats increasing globally, combatant commander global force management requirements for the missile defense capacity have consistently been increasing,” the subcommittee states in its bill.

Patriot air defense systems are the most frequently deployed asset worldwide and the Army and its allies are expending pricey missiles to take out cheaper targets.

With the Lockheed Martin-made Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (PAC-3 MSE) interceptor’s high cost, the panel notes, “the incorporation of a low-cost interceptor to supplement existing Patriot interceptor variants could assist in increasing U.S. procurement quantities.”

And foreign customers are in the market for a cheaper missile, the subcommittee adds, could make the development of a new interceptor even less expensive because increased sales would drive down the cost of production.

Poland, for example, wants a low-cost interceptor to supplement its order of Patriot missiles in the second phase of its acquisition plan for the Patriot system. Raytheon has offered SkyCeptor, a variant of the Israeli company Rafael’s Stunner missile.

The committee is directing the Army, should the language in the bill survive to become law, to provide a briefing to the panel by the end of the year “on options to incorporate a low-cost interceptor into the Patriot system.”

It adds, “The report should include cost, schedule, technical, and operational considerations, in addition to an assessment of potential for foreign military sale.”

A few years ago, even though concern over the Army’s shrinking munition stockpile was growing due to operations in the Middle East, the service was wrestling with whether it would re-certify the lower-cost Patriot interceptor — the Patriot Guided Enhanced Missile.

That decision still has not been made.

GEM-T missiles cost roughly 50 percent less than an MSE version and are used by a variety of Patriot customers around the world. There are 16 countries that own or have ordered Patriot systems globally.

Raytheon has recently proposed a GEM-T missile containing Gallium Nitride (GaN) in the transmitter portion of the system, which will improve the missile’s performance. Raytheon has developed the GaN version of GEM-T for an undisclosed country and would roll it into GEM-T orders for the Army in the future if given the go-ahead.

It is unclear what the appetite within the service is for a low-cost Patriot interceptor as the Army is focused on developing its future Integrated Air-and-Missile Defense system as one of its top modernization priorities.

The Army, according to its fiscal year 2020 five-year budget plan, wants to develop a new interceptor for IAMD. The system will replace Patriot and consists of a Northrop Grumman-developed command-and-control system. The service is also holding a competition for a new radar.

 

wairoa

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Patriot is fine for aircraft but it is pretty horrid when it comes to defending against ballistic missiles.
 

wairoa

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Experience. I dont believe the later versions of Patriot are signficantly improved over the earlier ones, despite what we are told regarding its ability to intercept ballistic missiles. In saying that I think it is effective against aircraft.
 

Scorpion

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Patriot is fine for aircraft but it is pretty horrid when it comes to defending against ballistic missiles.
Absolutely nonsense. Saudi Air Defense relies heavily on the Patriot system and has done pretty well against missiles from its first test against Saddam Hussein missiles during the Gulf War to this date against Houthies missiles. The Houthies have launched more than 200 missiles so far and all have been intercepted successfully by the Patriot.
 

mtime7

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Experience. I dont believe the later versions of Patriot are signficantly improved over the earlier ones, despite what we are told regarding its ability to intercept ballistic missiles. In saying that I think it is effective against aircraft.
What experience do you have?
 

Scorpion

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