US Patriot system downs Hezbollah's Iranian missile over Israel

In a significant escalation of tensions in the Middle East, Hezbollah has ushered in a "new phase" of conflict by deploying an Iranian 358 missile to target and subsequently shoot down an Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). This bold move was swiftly countered by the U.S. Patriot air defense system, which successfully intercepted and destroyed the missile.
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The air defense missile that was fired at the Israeli drone is a hybrid anti-slow-moving aircraft missile, coded 358, and it is an Iranian missile (Picture source: Syrian Military Encyclopedia )

The incident was meticulously detailed in a thread posted on platform X by the Syrian Military Encyclopedia (SME). The thread showcased images of the remnants of what appears to be a hybrid anti-slow-moving aircraft missile. The SME's analysis emphasized that the relatively slower speed of the Iranian 358 missile made it an easier target to track and neutralize for the U.S. Patriot system.

The Iranian 358 missile is designed for air defense operations, and its speed does not exceed 800-900 km/h. This speed, while fast, is considerably lower than that of many modern anti-aircraft missiles. The Patriot missile, for instance, can reach speeds of Mach 3.5, approximately 3500 km/h. This speed difference is significant and has major implications when it comes to intercepting missiles or drones in flight.

The slower speed of the missile 358 makes its trajectory more predictable, giving the U.S. Patriot air defense system a notable advantage when attempting an interception. With its faster speed and advanced guidance systems, the Patriot can quickly position itself in the missile 358's path and intercept it before it reaches its target. In the mentioned incident, the Patriot was able to intercept the missile 358 while it was still en route to the Israeli drone, thereby preventing the missile from hitting its target.

This incident marks a significant shift in Hezbollah's military tactics and highlights the growing reliance on sophisticated armaments, such as the Iranian 358 missile. The swift response of the U.S. Patriot system not only underscores the strategic alliance between the U.S. and Israel but also showcases the advanced capabilities of modern air defense systems to neutralize threats.