Taiwan to test-fire Patriot PAC-3 air defense missiles at US missile range

According to Kelvin Chen in Taiwan News, a team of 40 members of Taiwan's army will soon test-fire Patriot PAC-3 missiles at the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, Liberty Times reported on Saturday (July 24). Taiwan has spent NT$179.14 billion (US$6.38 billion) to purchase six Patriot III missile systems and upgrade three existing Patriot II systems to the current variant.
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German Patriot firing a missile in Crete, in November 2020 (Picture source: U.S. DVIDS)

Taiwanese military officials said that a target drone will first be launched to simulate a Chinese medium-range missile. Then, the Taiwanese army team will fire two Patriot III missiles to intercept it. If either one of them is not able to hit the target, another missile will immediately be launched.

This kind of live-fire verification of Taiwan’s Patriot missiles is carried out every two years, officials said, and it can only be performed in the U.S., due to security concerns. Taiwan and Japan are the only countries that conduct missile tests in the U.S., according to Liberty Times.

The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, the primary of its kind used by the U.S. Army and several allied nations. It is manufactured by Raytheon and derives its name from the radar component of the weapon system. The AN/MPQ-53 at the heart of the system is known as the "Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target" which is a backronym for PATRIOT. The Patriot System replaced the Nike Hercules system as the U.S. Army's primary High to Medium Air Defense (HIMAD) system and replaced the MIM-23 Hawk system as the U.S. Army's medium tactical air defense system. In addition to these roles, Patriot has been given the function of the U.S. Army's anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system, which is now Patriot's primary mission. The system is expected to stay fielded until at least 2040.

Patriot uses an advanced aerial interceptor missile and high-performance radar systems. It was developed at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, which had previously developed the Safeguard ABM system and its component Spartan and hypersonic speed Sprint missiles.


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