Meet MIM-104 Patriot, America’s Legendary Missile Air Defense System

It is a prized possession of the U.S. Army.

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mim 104 patriot
Image: U. S. Army / Anthony Sweeney

There aren’t many military assets at the same level as the MIM-104 Patriot. This anti-aircraft system has a special place in the U.S. Army, thanks to its noteworthy exploits throughout the nation’s recent history. Today, we look at the Patriot air defense system, its rich history, capabilities, and role in the modern-day.

Despite being an anti-aircraft system, it has evolved to become a surface-to-air missile system or SAM that can destroy enemy ballistics. In other words, the Patriot can also intercept and take down missile attacks apart from planes.

For those interested in seeing this weapon of mass destruction in action, here’s a video showing the true potential of the MIM-104 Patriot.

Patriot Missile Air Defense System: Facts and Figures

The Patriot is manufactured by Raytheon, a firm based in Massachusetts, U. S. It was first introduced to the American forces in 1981, but it didn’t reach usable form until 1984. Interestingly, it underwent multiple overhauls as time went by, and as of now, it has 6 major variants.

This war machine is the successor to the U.S. Army’s previous High to Medium Air Defense or HIMAD system, Nike Hercules. It also succeeded the army’s medium tactical air defense system, MIM-23 Hawk.

Whether the Persian Gulf War in 1991 or the Iraq War in 2003, the Patriot has repeatedly proven its mettle on the battlefield. In the Gulf War, the SAM countered over 40 Iraqi missiles and contributed to the victory of America and its allies. Moreover, it also played a significant role in taking control of the protracted Iraq War.

The Patriot boasts a highly capable radar and interceptor missile that can detect and demolish threats with sheer accuracy. Its most pivotal component is the AN/MPQ-53 or the Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target (PATRIoT), enabling it to achieve the desired results. Notably, this decorated anti-aircraft system’s missile range is around 70km (43.4mi), and the highest altitude they can reach is over 24km (14.9mi).

Over the years, the U.S. sold the Patriot missile air defense system to various nations, which have used it on multiple instances since then. Currently, the cutting-edge SAM is available in 15 nations besides the U.S., including Germany, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Spain, Poland, Sweden, Taiwan, the Netherlands, Kuwait, the U.A.E., Romania, South Korea, Greece, and Qatar.

If the latest military tech interests you, check out this giant American military plane and the highly destructive Railgun weapon.

Priye Rai

Priye Rai

Priye is a tech writer at Fossbytes, who writes about gaming and anything remotely related to tech, including smartphones, apps, OTT, etc. He prefers to be called a "video game journalist" and grimaces when he doesn't get to be "Player 1." If you want to talk about games or send any feedback, drop him a mail at [email protected]
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