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Several months before the golf war had broken the first patriot batteries reached Israel. Followed by the invasion to Kuwait, USA has decided to utilize the emergency foreignassistance law for other countries and provide Israel with additional patriot batteries at a relatively cheap price.
On November 25, 1990 a delegation from the A/A array based primarily on hawk battery personnel had been sent to the A/A school in Fort Bliss to learn how to operate the Patriot. A special course was held for Israeli Technicians because according to the American fighting techniques, the operator is also the technician. The Israeli air force has it’s own organized distribution for different levels of maintenance, so that the role of the technical personnel in the batteries had to be defined.
The technicians’ course were to finish its training in April 1991 and the rest of the role holders were to finish theirs at the end of February, but plans were changed due to the start of the golf war in January 1991 and the scud missile attack in Israel.
Lieutenant Colonel A’, commander of the delegation recommended returning half the operators and in addition, using the embassy to arrange for reinforcements in the form of American soldiers training the Israeli crew inside the batteries as they work. The other half of the operators, according to his suggestion, would remain in the US to finish to course. Overall, the delegation managed to complete only two months out of the three months of the course. The technician’s course, however, lasted five months posing them unable to apply the knowledge they acquired. Therefore, the American force sent to the country comprised of both operators and technicians.
In parallel, American patriot batteries placed in Germany were transferred to the country and deployed over the greater Tel Aviv and Haifa areas.
The batteries were meant to be used as a temporary replacement until the Israeli batteries, already in the country would have been manned by Israeli crews. At the end of January the A/A array received additional Patriot batteries, and shortly afterwards a battery from Holland had deployed itself as well.
Various types of batteries operated in the country: the American batteries, the Israeli batteries and a battery from the Netherlands. In the American batteries all soldiers, including the commanders were American. In the Israeli battery the commanders, the officers and part of the operators were Israeli. The rest of the crew was American. The Dutch battery was comprised of Dutchmen alone. During the war the patriot missiles were the only defense against Iraqi Scud missiles. Over the years various upgrades had been made to the Patriot, especially in the field of software to improve Surface-to-Surface missile hits.
The radar, marked AN/MPQ-53 is the headline of the patriot system. The radar is of a “Phased Array” type, in which target scanning is performed electronically by a static array from which radar beams are being broadcasted. This stands in contrast to the accepted method, the mechanical scan method common in fighter aircraft radars (using this method, the radar beams are broadcasted in a constant direction by a transmission array).
Each battery consists of two to eight launchers, each capable of holding up to four missiles. All battery parts are connected to the engagement control station. Every Patriot battalion also holds it’s own command and control vehicle, which job is to coordinate between the fire units in the battalion and the other sections of the army as well as the air-force.
The firing process is based upon five different lobes of the ground radar: the first for search, the second for tracking the target, the third for tracking the missile’s flight (for transmitting and receiving commands), the fourth transmits to the missile target data and the fifth receives the missile’s data back to the radar.
Most of the system’s work processes are automatic from the moment the launch command is received and don’t require the operator’s intervention, unless he wishes to change or abort the battery’s advanced computer’s decision.
The patriot missile resides in a sealed container and is installed on a launcher, along with its container. Post to the launch a new container is assembled (the old container can be reused). The missile is propelled by a one-stage rocket engine and has four steering surfaces.
The guidance system overviews the missile’s flight according to the next stages:
In the pre-launch stage the missile receives preliminary launch data and saves them to memory. According to these data, the missiles flies up until it reaches the center point in which it is picked up by the radar. At this stage, the tracking and engaging post receives the missiles telemetry in comparison to the target and the most efficient route to the destruction rendezvous calculates in a fraction of the second. Later on, the missile is guided up until it reaches the next center point, closer to the rendezvous point with the target.
From this point the missile goes through final guidance acquiring, in which the radar lights the target in a special “lighting” wave. During this a lighting receiver inside the missile is engaged. The data’s being received by the missile, undergoes encryption and returns to the radar. The radar processes this data and transmits further guidance data to the missile. This process continues up until the interception of the target. The missile’s flight at this time appears as a climb to high envelopes followed by a rapid dive to the target.
Just seconds before the designated impact of the enemy target, the missile switches to TVM mode (Track-Via-Missile). In this method the missiles locks on to the target, processes the returns and transmits the target data towards the radar through a special antenna. The data is transferred to the weapon control computer, compared to the radar data and according to those the final trajectory to the future rendezvous point with the target is calculated.
The missile itself is propelled by a rocket engine and develops a maximum speed of up to three mach. It contains a warhead at a total eight of 80 Kg. The system’s maximum operational range is 160 km and it is capable of engaging a target maneuvering at 30 g’s. The patriot system is capable of intercepting bomber and fighter jets of all types at different flight characterizations.
Prior to the Gulf war the patriot was successfully tried at Surface-to-Surface interception missiles, even though it’s primary goal is to intercept aircrafts. The system is characterized by mobility, a high level of computing and a multi-purpose special radar.
The missiles response range are minimal and the fire rate is high: A missile can be launched every 1.6 seconds.
The US military’s operational requirements consisted of four main points, the first of which are improvement in mobility: The Nike-Hercules batteries are immobile, and to be able to move Hawk batteries a large amount of vehicles and accessories is required. The aim was that the new system would move easily to reduce its vulnerability on one hand while being able to deploy quickly close to the forces. Other points revolved around technical and logistical aspects.
To handle new threats the system needed to offer multiple-target tracking ability, to be immune to electronic warfare interferences as well as to have a very short response time. The missile itself required high probability of destroying its target. Maintenance-wise, a demand was laid to reduce as much as possible the amount of maintenance and personal required to operate the system.
The characterization of the patriot’s operational requirements ended in January 1965. In august 1965 the management plans for the US army’s military command was transferred. During April 1966 the requirements were published and several months later started the procedure to choose between the five companies that participated in the bid. On may 1967 started “Raytheon” and “Martin-Marieta”, the selected companies, to develop the new S/A missile. The development period lasted longer then expected since each phase of the program was carefully evaluated after being executed. The project time was estimated as four years with a starting budget of 425 million dollars.
In fact, development ended with a total cost of two billion dollars. Still in November 1979, when the end of development seemed close, a preliminary contract for manufacturing the first system was signed at a cost of 11.3 million dollars. In August 1980 the system had passed the strict examinations of the US army and in June 1982 the first battery was implanted in the American School for A/A in Fort Bliss, Texas, as means of training.
October 1984 saw the end of implanting the system into operational usage in the US army and later on batteries were deployed in NATO countries, mostly Germany. In 1990 several US army Patriot batteries were deployed in the conflict arena with Iraq. The Patriot batteries deployed while fighting Saudi Arabia managed to intercept Iraqi Scud missiles with only partial success.