Energy and Tenacity of Patriot Soldiers Defeated Iraq's Tactical Ballistic Missiles
Kuwait. One of the sensors in the U.S. Central Command's Theater Air and Missile Defense (TAMD) System immediately detected the launch, initiated an early warning alarm across the theater and passed an update report that predicted the missile's impact point to be in Tactical Assembly Area Thunder—where 4,000 Soldiers and the Aviation Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) were assembled. Moments after the warning, sirens sounded across Kuwait. Soldiers headed toward bunkers, donning protective masks and their protective suits, and air defenders went to battle stations.
The 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) passed instructions to firing batteries, including Delta Battery, 5th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery, a recently created "shortstop battery." The Soldiers of Delta Battery responded to the alert and destroyed the in-bound Ababil-100 with a direct hit, prompting MG Dave Petreaus, Commander of the 101st to state, "Patriot saved the 101st!"
community to improve our nation's theater ballistic missile defense capability. The mixed results of Patriot
missile defense during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, when Patriot had been unable to target the warheads of incoming Scud missiles, had left air defenders determined that, next time around, Patriot's performance would be conclusive and decisive.
The air and missile defense community's aggressive developmental approach spanned the full range of joint
doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, people and facilities. It required significant investment of all resources—time, money, technologies, and personal effort—by the entire air and missile defense establishment.
Advancements in missile technology and associated radar and software corrected previous Patriot shortcomings in targeting the warheads of inbound missiles. As the need to defend American and coalition forces from ballistic missile attack became more probable after 9/11, the Army accelerated the early fielding of Guidance-Enhanced Missiles-Plus (GEM+s) and Patriot Advanced Capabilities-3 (PAC-3) missiles into the Central Command theater of operations.