MIM-104 Patriot

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MIM-104 Patriot

Launch of a Patriot guided missile (on launcher US version)
Launch of a Patriot guided missile
(on launcher US version)

General Information
Type ground-based medium-range anti-aircraft missile
Manufacturer Raytheon
development since 1969
Commissioning first military use on January 18, 1991
Unit price ~ 2 million euros (PAC-2 rocket)
~ 3 million euros (PAC-3 rocket)
Technical specifications
length 5.30 m (MIM-104A / B)
5.18 m (MIM-104 C)
5.20 m (PAC-3)
diameter 0.41 m (MIM-104A / B / C)
0.25 m (PAC-3)
Combat weight 914 kg (MIM-104 A / B)
900 kg (MIM-104 C)
312 kg (PAC-3)
drive single-stage solid rocket
speed > Mach 3 (MIM-104A / B)
> Mach 4.1 (MIM-104C / PAC-3)
Range MIM-104A / B: 70 km
MIM-104C: 160 km
PAC-3: 15 to 45 km (air targets), 15 to 45 km (ballistic targets)
Warhead MIM-104A / B: 90 kg high explosive
MIM-104C: 91 kg high explosive / splitter
PAC-3: 73 kg high explosive / splitter
Detonator MIM-104A / B / C: Impact / proximity
detonator PAC-3: Proximity detonator
Lists on the subject

MIM-104 Patriot (as an apronym often incorrectly translated as: P hased A rray T racking R adar to I ntercept O f T arget) is a ground-based short-range anti-aircraft missile system for defense against aircraft , cruise missiles and tactical medium-range ballistic missiles .

It was developed by the American companies Raytheon and Lockheed since the 1960s , at that time still under the name " SAM -D". The Soviet counterpart to the Patriot was the SA-10 "Grumble" from the 1970s.


The AN / MPQ-53 multifunctional radar device of the Bundeswehr
Antenna mast system of the anti-aircraft missile group 26 Husum
A Patriot launcher (US version, Japanese forces)
Camouflaged launch device
Dutch soldiers at the consoles in the fire control center (ECS)

The Patriot anti-aircraft missile system consists of several individual components that are either mounted on semi-trailers / trucks (US version) or only on trucks (German version) to ensure high mobility. The individual subsystems are connected to one another either via cable connections (fiber optic / two-wire and multi-wire lines) and / or VHF radio. The following section lists and explains the components of the system.

Multifunction radar (Radar Set (RS))

The AN / MPQ-53 multifunction radar is used to capture, identify and combat air targets. Unlike conventional radars, the MPQ-53 uses phased array antennas , which has several advantages: higher ECCM capacities, more accurate distance and angle determination, and extremely fast beam alignment.

The disadvantage of this design is the limited detection range of 120 ° (in practice more of 90 °), so three fire units are required for a 360 ° cover. The radar consists of 5161 phase shifters and operates in the frequency range from 4 to 8 GHz. It can track 90 to 125 flight targets and simultaneously control up to nine guided missiles in the final interception phase using the TVM process. The fighting range is a maximum of 170 km, a minimum of 3 km.

The radar also ensures friend-foe detection (IFF) through electronic interrogation of the flight targets (system designation: AN / TPX-46 (V) 7 ; in the frequency range 1030 and 1090 MHz) as well as the establishment of a data link to fired guided missiles (frequency range: 4 to 8 GHz). These functions are carried out by separate antenna units on the lower part of the antenna support. There are also a few modules for sidelobe suppression to reduce or completely suppress the effects of opposing interference measures.

The radar has been extensively modernized over the years and has been called the AN / MPQ-65 since the PAC-3-Configuration-3 upgrade.

For self-protection against guided anti-radar missiles (e.g. AS-17 Krypton ), a fire unit can be equipped with an AN / TLQ-32 radar bait. This can emulate the typical signal characteristics of the MPQ-53/65 in order to deflect approaching guided missiles.

Antenna mast system (Antenna Mast Group (AMG))

The Antenna Mast Group (AMG) (German: Antennenmastanlage (AMA)) connects several Patriot units over up to four radio links over long distances with high redundancy and interference immunity . The maximum extension height of the antenna mast is 34 meters, the maximum range of the system 50 kilometers.

Launching Station (LS)

The M-901 launchers can accommodate up to four PAC-1 / -2 or 16 PAC-3 guided missiles. Depending on the EMCON status, they are connected to the fire control station using VHF radio data transmission and / or fiber optic cables. The system frame commonly used by the Bundeswehr, on which the weapon system is mounted, enables the system to be leveled on uneven ground by 5 ° in the direction of travel ("cross-roll") and 4 ° at right angles to it (vehicle transverse axis; " roll "). Another 5 ° can be compensated for by the fire control center's system (WCC = Weapon Control Computer). To prepare for fire readiness, the launcher platform with the four canisters in which the guided missiles are located is erected at an elevation angle of 38 °. They can be rotated 110 ° to the right or left to the starting position (“clockwise” and “counterclockwise”). The starting device has its own power supply via SEA (power generation system, 15 kW / 400 Hz, max. 52A / phase). A fire unit usually has eight starting devices.

Fire control station (Engagement Control Station (ECS))

The AN / MSQ-104 is the fire control station of the Patriot system and one of the few manned components. From here, three operators conduct the fire fight, and they can receive instructions from the central fire control cabin ICC. The ECS can be used anywhere due to full air conditioning and has complete NBC protection. In the fire control station (ECS) of the Tactical Control Officer (TCO) (is Feuerleitoffizier ), the Tactical Control Assistant (TCA) (Feuerleitassistent) and another soldier for communication operates.

Fire control cabin (Information Coordination Central (ICC))

The ICC is the central, higher-level command post, in which tactical decisions are made at combat command level ( battalion level ) and then passed on to up to six fire control centers (fire unit level). It also has extensive communications facilities (including Link 11 B, Link 16, and ATDL-1 ) that allow combat command personnel to communicate with many modern weapons, reconnaissance and command platforms. This enables the target data to be exchanged quickly and securely. The Tactical Director (TD) and the Tactical Director Assistant (TDA) work in the ICC.

Command Post (CP)

Another cabin is available as a command post for the unit commander. Additional guide cabins are available for maintenance and repair personnel, telecommunications and reconnaissance personnel.

Power supply

Electric power plant (EPP)

To power the radar and the fire control station (ECS), two generators (German: Strom -generer-Aggregat (SEA)) with 150 kW power each are available on this vehicle .

Electric Power Unit (EPU)

This small component secures the power supply of the combat control cabin (ICC). Two generators with 30 kW each are responsible for this.

Development and variants


This is the basic version with monopulse antenna introduced in 1984 .


This variant, also known as SOJC ("Standoff Jammer Counter") was introduced in the late 1980s and is designed to combat flying disruptive systems. For this purpose, the guided missile flies an optimized trajectory and uses its passive radar seeker to approach the source of interference. For this purpose, a modified navigation system was installed, whereby the characteristics of air target combat are identical to the A variant.


The "Patriot Advanced Capability" upgrade is mainly a software- based upgrade , as only the AN / MPQ-53 radar was modified. The new software enables short-range ballistic missiles to be intercepted . Since the guided missile itself was not changed, it was not given a new designation according to the MIM-104 x scheme.

MIM-104C (PAC-2)

This version marks the first comprehensive increase in combat value of the Patriot system. In addition to further improvements to the software, both the proximity fuse and the warhead have been significantly redesigned to improve the combat against ballistic missiles. In addition, the range has been significantly increased by a new rocket fuel and optimized flight control. The first test launch (against another Patriot missile) took place in November 1987; the first systems were put into service in late 1990.

MIM-104D (PAC-2 GEM)

After the PAC-2 guided missiles showed significant weaknesses in use against ballistic missiles (details see below ), a commission was formed to analyze the system. This identified the proximity fuse as a major weak point in the system, as it was often too sluggish and triggered the ignition of the warhead too late. For this reason, a new and considerably faster ignition system was installed in the GEM variant ("Guidance Enhanced Missile"). By installing a more modern radar seeker, targets can now be detected and tracked with a small radar cross-section . The radar of the ground-based system components has been improved; The installation of a new data link made it possible to position the starting devices up to 10 kilometers away from the fire control station, thereby increasing the defense area of ​​the system. Production started in 1994.

MIM-104E (PAC-2 GEM +)

This variant (includes the GEM / T and GEM / C versions) represents a further improvement on the GEM variant. A new digital proximity detonator and radar seeker have been introduced, which are characterized by a new, high-performance noise suppression system . This means that even smaller radar targets, such as LO aircraft (stealth) or cruise missiles , can be fought than was possible with the GEM version. The GEM / T version differs from the GEM / C version only in the proximity fuse, which in the T version is optimized for fighting ballistic missiles. The delivery to the US Army began in November 2002, which wants to provide all existing PAC-2 guided missiles with the "GEM +" upgrade. By 2006, 515 guided missiles had been modernized, and in September 2010 the Army received the 1000th GEM-T guided missile.


Part of the front control segment (including radome )
A PAC-3 missile shortly after takeoff (note the active thrusters in the front segment)
PAC-3 interception test on October 14, 2000

The PAC-3 guided missile was specially designed to combat more sophisticated ballistic missiles, but it can also combat conventional airborne targets effectively, although its relatively short range limits this role. In addition, the higher costs of this LFK have an unfavorable effect in the fire fight against opposing conventional aircraft, since less highly developed LFK are sufficient for this purpose. The PAC-3 is primarily intended to destroy enemy missiles with a direct hit (English: " Hit-To-Kill "), as this ensures that the warhead can be safely destroyed. However, thanks to its fragmentation warhead with proximity detonator, the guided missile can ensure that the target is destroyed (“kill”) even if it passes close by. In order to ensure the necessary precision for a direct interception maneuver, an active pulse Doppler radar seeker and several thrusters were integrated into the cell of the PAC-3 LFK. The small dimensions of the PAC-3 LFK make it possible to replace a PAC-2-LFK canister with a canister with four PAC-3 guided missiles. If the weight capacity of the carrier vehicle is sufficient, a single launch device can accommodate up to 16 PAC-3 guided missiles compared to four launch canisters with PAC-2 LFK. The vehicles used by the Bundeswehr are limited to eight PAC-3 missiles for weight reasons.

A wide range of target types were simulated during various tests. In addition to the usual one and two-stage short - range missiles, modified Patriot missiles (Bez .: "Patriot-As-A-Target", PAAT) were used in this role to simulate particularly small ballistic targets. Separating and maneuvering warheads were also intercepted several times to simulate more sophisticated missiles . The latter are based on the model that was used in the Pershing II and are referred to as the Storm II . Even conventional, low-flying air targets and cruise missiles (represented among others by the MQM-107 - target drone ) have been successfully intercepted in tests.

The development of the PAC-3 began in 1995 and was then called ERINT ("Extended Range Interceptor"). The entire program costs around US $ 8.5 billion, with the US Army already having over 900 guided missiles in inventory. The following variants are known:

PAC-3 Configuration 1

This first development variant is based on the PAC-2-GEM version. Mainly the floor systems were equipped with new computer and control systems, which are necessary for the new and complex control processes. The guided missile itself received an improved Doppler pulse radar seeker and the modernized components of the GEM variant.

PAC-3 Configuration 2

In this development version, the ground systems were equipped with the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS), which improved communication with friendly units. The rest of the package consists of a comprehensive software upgrade for the fire control station and the guided missile. On the one hand, this has improved the detection and tracking of targets with a small radar cross-section , and on the other hand, anti-radar guided missiles such as the AGM-88 HARM (USA / NATO) or the AS-17 Krypton from Russian production can now also be combated.

PAC-3 Configuration 3

In addition to the introduction of a new software package, the active radar seeker of the rocket was equipped with two traveling wave tubes and a new exciter in order to increase the performance compared to targets with a small radar cross section. The AN / MPQ-53 radar, now called the AN / MPQ-65, has also been extensively modernized and now has better properties for identifying ballistic targets and suppressing clutter and sources of interference . In addition, the network system was equipped with an interface for the THAAD system.


This is the final production version of the PAC-3, which has been in service since 2001. Compared to the Configuration 3 variant, only a few detailed improvements have been made.


This variant (English: "Missile Segment Enhancement") is an increase in the combat value of the PAC-3 guided missile. The modifications were primarily aimed at improving flight characteristics. A new, more powerful rocket motor is used for this, which increases the range considerably. In order to achieve better maneuverability, the control surfaces have been enlarged and reinforced. In addition, a more modern data link is installed for better communication between the guided missile and the fire control station. The upgrade does not require any changes to the LFK cell or the start system. This variant should also be used in the MEADS system. In August 2016, the PAC-3 MSE reached Initial Operating Capability in the US armed forces.

Stationed in Germany

US Army

In January 1985 the "32nd Army Air Defense Command" (32nd AADCOM) stationed the US Army's Patriot System in Europe for the first time.

armed forces

Patriot launch device of the German Air Force. In contrast to the US version, all components of the German version are mounted on trucks.

The army was preparing the 1989 twelve aircraft missiles squadrons Air Force made with Patriot. The systems introduced are exclusively mounted on MAN trucks and are provided with German accessories (power supply, radio and air conditioning systems). An additional 24 systems financed by the USA (also in a German version) were operated within the framework of the Patriot-Roland Agreement. After the expiry of the agreement, the Air Force took over the US systems in its inventory. After several restructuring and reductions, a total of 24 squadrons have been in operational use since January 1, 2006 - with an assumed total of 192 launch devices.

Each squadron has a fire control station (ECS), a power supply system (EPP), a multifunction radar device (RS), eight launch devices (LS) with four missiles each and a radio relay with generators and antenna mast system (AMA). As reserve loads, 32 guided missiles are available in air force depots for each squadron. The starting devices are equipped as required: MIM-104 A – D: a maximum of four LFK; PAC 3: eight (in two “four-packs” each). For reasons of road traffic law (exceeding the permitted total weight of the starting device), the maximum load of 16 LFK PAC 3 in the German version was waived. It is not possible to accommodate more than two "four-packs" (eight PAC 3-LFK) due to the lack of connection options for signal and control cables.

The German Air Force plans to replace its Patriot systems with the new Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS). After Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière announced in October 2011 that he would not be purchasing the air defense system, the start of procurement was announced in June 2015. The procurement contract should be signed in 2017.


Other NATO user states are the Netherlands (since 1987), Greece (since 2003) and Spain (since 2005). Since 1999, Patriot PAC-3 systems have been designed to protect Japan from possible Chinese and North Korean missiles. For this they were stationed on Okinawa ; from 2007 also in Saitama Prefecture . The Patriot anti-aircraft missile system continues to be used by Egypt , Israel , Jordan , Kuwait , Saudi Arabia , South Korea , Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates . Since 2010, US Patriot systems have been temporarily stationed in Poland for training purposes.

The weapon system belongs to the combat efficiency "KWA Config 3" is still available to the most advanced air defense systems in the world.

The system is used in more than 12 countries worldwide.

"The US State Department (July 2017) gave the green light for the sale of air defense systems ( Patriot missiles, note) to Romania and Poland." The US Department of Defense approved the sale to Poland in November 2017; the US Congress has yet to approve the project.

History and missions since 1991

Patriot launch device (US version) during "Desert Storm"
Debris from a Scud missile launched by Patriot during the Second Gulf War

In the first Iraq war , the US Army's patriot systems had the task of intercepting attacking Iraqi “ Scud ” and “Al-Hussein” missiles. The concept of defense against ballistic missiles had long been pursued by the great powers, but had never been tested in real use.

Doubtful success rates against ballistic missiles in 1991

The first combat mission is reported to have taken place on January 18, 1991, with a Scud fired at Saudi Arabia being successfully destroyed. In the course of the war another 40 Iraqi Scuds were fought with Patriot-LFK - the success of these missions is also controversial to this day. These reports and other statements about the success of the Patriot against ballistic targets in the Iraq war of 1991 have been questioned by numerous investigations:

  • On February 25, 1991, an Iraqi Scud hit a US Army barracks in Dhahran , Saudi Arabia, killing 28 soldiers. The following investigation revealed that the Patriot battery in Dharan had recognized the missile, but the tracking of the Iraqi missile failed. The cause was a software error in the control computer, which led to the position of the target becoming increasingly different as the running time increased. At the time of the attack, the Patriot system had been running for over 100 hours, so that the radar beam deviated more than half a kilometer from the actual position of the enemy missile and the radar set was looking for the Scud in the wrong place. As a result of this error, no anti-missile was launched.
  • The US Army initially stated a success rate ("success rate") for Scud kills of 80 percent in Saudi Arabia and 50 percent in Israel , later only 70 percent and 40 percent respectively. During a visit to Patriot manufacturer Raytheon , US President George HW Bush declared : “ 42 Scuds engaged, 41 intercepted! ", Which would correspond to a success rate of 97.6 percent. On April 7, 1992, however, an independent study stated that the Patriot system had achieved a success rate of “less than 10 percent”. The final report stated: “ The Patriot missile system did not have the spectacular success in the Gulf War that the American public has been led to believe. […] The public and Congress were misled by […] the government and Raytheon officials during and after the war. “The success figures were also critically commented on in another report.

Operations against air targets in 1991

In the fight against manned aircraft, Patriot has proven to be technically successful - the three missiles fired at aircraft in the two Gulf Wars hit their targets - but it was a friendly fire in each case, i.e. the accidental shooting down of US-led fighter planes Coalition forces (including a British tornado ).

2003 Iraqi ballistic missile successes

In the second Iraq war , the systems that have meanwhile been upgraded to PAC-3 achieved undisputedly good success rates with 11 short-range missiles of the type " Al-Samoud-2" and "Ababil-100" . Medium-range missiles like those in the first Iraq war were not used on the Iraqi side. The Patriot units successfully moved with the front lines to protect the advanced troops and guard the airspace.

Use on the Turkish-Syrian border in 2012/2013

In November 2012, negotiations began between NATO and the government of the member state Turkey to relocate Patriot systems to the Turkish-Syrian border . On November 21, 2012, Turkey submitted an official “request for help”.

On December 4, 2012, NATO decided to move Patriot air defense systems to the Turkish-Syrian border. The German Bundestag approved the deployment of German soldiers on December 14, 2012. Germany, the Netherlands and the USA have provided the systems and their operating teams for Active Fence Turkey since January 2013 . The anti-missile missiles were intended to serve exclusively for the protection and defense of the NATO ally Turkey. They were not allowed to be used to establish or control a no-fly zone over Syria. The German mandate was extended twice before it expired on January 31, 2016.

Used in the Syrian civil war from 2014

During the civil war in Syria , Israel shot down a Syrian reconnaissance drone and a Sukhoi Su-24 over the Golan Heights . The reason for this was a violation of the Israeli airspace, which was denied by the Syrian side.

A Forpost drone - presumably Russian - that breached Israeli airspace in 2016 from Syria was unsuccessfully fired at with two Patriot missiles.

On April 28, 2017, the Israeli armed forces reported the shooting down of a drone that was said to have breached Israeli airspace from Syria.

On July 24, 2018, a Syrian Sukhoi Su-22 fighter- bomber was shot down by two Patriot anti-aircraft missiles over the Golan Heights, which had been annexed by Israel . According to Israeli information, the fighter aircraft penetrated 2000 m into the airspace controlled by Israel.

Deployment in the south of Saudi Arabia in 2015

After Saudi information should Huthi rebels in response to the Saudi military intervention in Yemen a ballistic surface-to-surface missile of type 1 SS (NATO code: Scud) Arabian Saudi city Khamis Mushait in the Asir province have launched where there is also an air force base. Two Saudi Patriot anti-aircraft missiles intercepted the missile.

Use against $ 200 civilian drone

A Patriot missile with a value of up to million 3.4 dollars to against about $ 200 costing Quadcopter have been used successfully -Zivildrohne. The deployment sparked controversial discussions. The location, the country and the time of the incident are not publicly known.

100 kills by 2017

On May 2, 2017, the manufacturer Raytheon stated that more than 100 ballistic targets have been shot down with the Patriot system since 2015. In almost all cases, the specialized PAC-3 version was not used, but the more cost-effective PAC-2-GEM version.

Deployment in Saudi Arabia 2017

Starting in July 2017, Houthi rebels launched ballistic surface-to-surface missiles against targets in Saudi Arabia several times . The Saudi air defense succeeded several times in fighting the approaching missiles with Patriot anti-aircraft missiles. The same problem arose as in previous ballistic missile combats: the Patriot missiles hit their target, but could not destroy it. In one case, the warhead of the ballistic missile followed its trajectory after the Patriot hit and detonated on the grounds of Riyadh airport .

Another explanation for the failure of the interceptor weapons is that the ballistic missiles break upon re-entry into the atmosphere and their warhead is difficult to identify among several debris.

Deployment in Saudi Arabia 2018

On March 25, 2018, Houthi rebels launched seven surface-to-surface ballistic missiles against targets in Riyadh , Jazan , Khamis Muschait and Najran in Saudi Arabia . According to the armed forces of Saudi Arabia , all missiles could be fought with Patriot anti-aircraft missiles. However, amateur videos show how a Patriot anti-aircraft missile explodes shortly after take-off and how a second one flies uncontrollably into the ground after take-off.

Missile technical data

system MIM-104A / B MIM-104C PAC-3
length 5.30 m 5.18 m 5.20 m
Takeoff weight 914 kg 900 kg 312 kg
diameter 0.41 m 0.41 m 0.25 m
span k. A. 0.92 m 0.50 m
drive single-stage solid rocket single-stage solid rocket single-stage solid rocket
Range 70 km 160 km (min. 3 km) Air
target: 10–15 km ballistic target: 15–45 km
Bet height k. A. 24 km (min. 60 m) 10-15 km
Resilience continuously 20 g
briefly 30 g
k. A. k. A.
speed > Mach 3 (max.Mach 5) Do 5 Do 5
steering TVM , INS , HOJ TVM, INS, HOJ TVM, INS, active radar seeker in the K a -band
Warhead 90 kg highly explosive 91 kg high explosive / splinter 73 kg high explosive / splinter
ignition Impact / proximity fuse Impact / proximity fuse Proximity fuse
Introductory year 1984 1990 2001

Web links

Commons : MIM-104 Patriot  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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