On November 30, 2022, MBDA Germany announced via its Twitter account that American company Raytheon Defense and MBDA plan to produce Patriot guided missiles in Germany for the German army (Bundeswehr) and European NATO users.
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Patriot air defense missile battery of the German Air Force. (Picture source Wikipedia / Ra Boe )
The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air defense missile system developed by the American company Raytheon primarily for the United States armed forces. The air defense system is also in service with several NATO countries including Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, and Sweden. Recently Switzerland and Poland have also signed contracts to acquire Patriot Air Defense Systems.
The Patriot MIM-104 is a long-range all-weather air defense missile system able to intercept and destroy tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and advanced aircraft. Since entering service in 1980, the missile of the Patriot air defense has undergone many improvements and modifications to meet new air threats such as tactical and cruise missiles.
Through the 1980s and 1990s, the U.S. Army fielded a number of significant upgrades to the Patriot system and in 1986, the U.S. Army upgraded Patriot to the Patriot Advanced Capability-1 (PAC-1) standard, which featured software changes that would allow it to engage tactical ballistic missiles.
Following the PAC-1 deployment, the Army embarked on a second upgrade program, PAC-2, which involved modifications to the missile fuze, warhead, and guidance to engage more capable ballistic missiles. In 1983, the U.S. started the development of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) with a first flight test in 1997.
In March 2009, the Army conducted its first guided flight test of an upgraded PAC-3 interceptor, the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE). The PAC-3 MSE features an enlarged motor and other enhancements to nearly double the PAC-3’s range.
Currently, the German Air force operates 30 MIM-104C/F Patriot PAC-2/PAC-3 air defense systems. A battery of Patriot includes up to six M901 missile launcher vehicles, each carrying four missiles.