What Is a Patriot Missile System, and Why Do Nations Want Them So Much

What Is a Patriot Missile System, and Why Do Nations Want Them So Much

The US-made Patriot missile system is one of the most sought-after weaponry as Western armaments stream into Ukraine to oppose the escalating Russian assault. The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system that was developed as an advanced defense option against cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, and advanced enemy aircraft. It would go a long way in defending against incoming strikes and would greatly aid President Zelensky’s wishes for a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine. Unfortunately for the defending nation, US President Biden has firmly rejected giving Ukraine with Patriot systems, citing the fact that doing so would necessitate the deployment of US soldiers, which Moscow would likely regard as an escalation.

WHERE DOES THE PATRIOT MISSILE SYSTEM COME FROM? The MIM-104 Patriot is a missile battery that has taken over as the US’s primary line of defense against incoming missiles and aircraft from prior SAM systems. It took the position of the Nike Hercules system as the Army’s High to Medium Air Defense (HIMAD) system, and it is currently the Army’s principal anti-ballistic missile defense system. It was created in 1969 and is manufactured by Raytheon at a cost of roughly $1 billion per unit. It carries four $3 million missiles.

The Patriot is a mobile missile defense system with four primary components: communications, command, observation radar, and missile guidance. The system’s name comes from the radar, which is intended to identify threats and monitor approaching targets, and is abbreviated as ‘Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target,’ also known as AN/MPQ-53. The range of this radar is said to be up to 100 kilometers (62 miles). Large 5.2 meter (17 foot) long missiles with 90 kilogram (198 pound) warheads are housed within the missile tubes, which are either PAC-2 or PAC-3 variants. 

Guidance enhancement systems are used on upgraded missiles, which means that while they fly, an onboard target acquisition system detects the target and sends data to the command station, where final course modifications are done. Each missile has a minimum flight duration of under nine seconds and a maximum flight length of three and a half minutes, during which it may travel up to 70 kilometers (43 miles) to a target.

WHY IT IS SO DESPERATELY SOUGHT AFTER? Patriot batteries are typically deployed in groups of eight launchers, each capable of firing four missiles, and are accompanied by roughly 90 US personnel. However, the Patriot system is currently used by a number of other countries throughout the world, including numerous NATO countries in Europe, South Korea, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Taiwan. The system has served in a number of wars, including the Persian Gulf War, the Iraq War, and the continuing Saudi Arabian-Yemeni border dispute.

Patriots are one of the few systems that can protect against incoming missiles, making them a hot commodity in wartime. In the Russian invasion of Ukraine, missiles are proving to be a deadly power. Russia has already launched over 1,100 missiles into Ukraine, despite the fact that, according to US sources, they have a high failure rate of roughly 60% due to launch problems and failure to detonate.

ARE THE UNITED STATES EVER GOING TO GIVE UKRAINE ONE? Despite the fact that the Patriot systems are exactly what Ukraine requires in terms of defense, they will not be deployed in the present battle. Patriot batteries, according to Biden and individuals familiar with the technology, need extensive training to operate, which would necessitate US or NATO soldiers entering Ukraine and either operating the systems or spending substantial time teaching Ukrainian troops to do so. 

Reaffirming that US forces would not step foot on Ukrainian land during the battle in defense of the country, Patriot is no longer a possibility, despite the fact that Ukraine receives other US armaments on a regular basis. Patriot systems, on the other hand, have been deployed in neighboring NATO nations to shore up air defense, notably in Poland, where two Patriot systems were recently deployed from the United States. Germany is likewise well-versed with the technology, having utilized Patriot batteries for many years.