5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery load Patriot missiles before convoy to Poland during exercise Saber Strike 2018 at Baumholder, Germany.
The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, the primary of its kind used by the United States Army and several allied nations. It is manufactured by the U.S. defense contractor Raytheon and derives its name from the radar component of the weapon system. The AN/MPQ-53 at the heart of the system is known as the “Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target” which is a backronym for PATRIOT. The Patriot System replaced the Nike Hercules system as the U.S. Army’s primary High to Medium Air Defense (HIMAD) system, and replaced the MIM-23 Hawk system as the U.S. Army’s medium tactical air defense system. In addition to these roles, Patriot has been given the function of the U.S. Army’s anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system, which is now Patriot’s primary mission. The system is expected to stay fielded until at least 2040.
Patriot uses an advanced aerial interceptor missile and high-performance radar systems. Patriot was developed at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, which had previously developed the Safeguard ABM system and its component Spartan and hypersonic speed Sprint missiles. The symbol for Patriot is a drawing of a Revolutionary War-era Minuteman.
Patriot systems have been sold to the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Republic of China (Taiwan), Greece, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Romania. South Korea also purchased several second-hand Patriot systems from Germany after North Korea test-launched ballistic missiles to the Sea of Japan and proceeded with underground nuclear testing in 2006. Poland hosts training rotations of a battery of U.S. Patriot launchers. This started in the town of Morąg in May 2010 but was later moved further from the Russian border to Toruń and Ustka due to Russian objections. On December 4, 2012, NATO authorized the deployment of Patriot missile launchers in Turkey to protect the country from missiles fired in the civil war in neighboring Syria.
The Patriot system gained notoriety during the Persian Gulf War of 1991 with the claimed engagement of over 40 Iraqi Scud missiles, those claims became a source of controversy. The system was highly successfully used against Iraqi missiles in 2003 Iraq War, and has been also used by Saudi and Emirati forces in the Yemen conflict against Houthi missile attacks. The Patriot system achieved its first undisputed shootdowns of enemy aircraft in the service of the Israeli Air Defense Command. Israeli MIM-104D batteries shot down two Hamas UAVs during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and later, on September 23, 2014, an Israeli Patriot battery shot down a Syrian Air Force Sukhoi Su-24 which had penetrated Israeli airspace, achieving the first shootdown of a manned enemy aircraft in the world for the system.
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