Two U.S. Army Patriot missile batteries have been dispatched to Poland, U.S. European Command said Wednesday, bolstering defenses in a country where thousands of additional U.S. troops have deployed since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine two weeks ago. This defensive deployment is being conducted proactively to counter any potential threat to U.S. and Allied forces and NATO territory. EUCOM’s Gen. Tod Wolters directed the Patriot batteries from the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, headquartered at Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Germany, to an operational site in Poland. Article 5 contains the NATO treaty’s principle that an attack on one member requires a collective response from all. The decision to send in air defenses to Poland comes one day after the U.S. rejected a Polish proposal to send its MiG-29 fighter jets to Ramstein Air Base, where they would be reflagged for eventual delivery to Ukraine.
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. defence 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 defence 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.