One of the most widely used and effective modern weapons is the MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system.
Developed by Raytheon Company Ltd of Waltham, Massachusetts, the MIM-104 Patriot missile is used to target enemy aircraft in combat zones. The system is also used to target and destroy incoming enemy missiles. A surface-to-air system, the Patriot missile is fired from the ground and into the air. Today, Patriot missiles are a key part of the U.S. Army’s anti-aircraft defense system.
Created in the late 1970s, the Patriot missile has been in service with the U.S. military since 1981. More than 10,000 Patriot missiles had been manufactured as of 2010. Several of the U.S. military’s closest allies have adopted the Patriot missile, including Germany, Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arabs Emirates.
Use in the Middle East
The Patriot missile system consists of four main components – communications, radar surveillance, command and control, and missile guidance. Working together, the system provides an effective mobile air defense system against enemy aircraft and ballistic missiles. There are several variants of the Patriot missile system. The differences among the various missiles consist mostly of the guidance system and warhead.
The Patriot missile system has been used extensively in the Middle East since the 1991 Gulf War, where it targeted Iraqi aircraft and shot down ballistic scud missiles that were fired against Israel and Saudi Arabia. The Patriot missile system has been upgraded several times over the years to improve its guidance system, radar, and explosive payload.