The United States and Australia have demonstrated a feat of interoperability with the first live-fire of the US Patriot MIM-104 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system in Australia at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area on Friday 16 July.
Tasked with firing the Patriot were soldiers from the U.S. 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade out of Sagami General Depot, Japan, with Australian Army troops from Deployable Joint Force Headquarters coordinating range safety requirements.
The Patriot missiles fired at a pair of drone targets.
According to Deputy Exercise Director U.S. Army Col. Jerry Hall, the proposal to deploy the missile defence system was first put forward in 2009.
A Defence spokesperson said:
“Talisman Sabre is an opportunity to test our respective forces’ abilities to conduct Combined and Joint Task Force operations.
The inclusion of a Patriot surface-to-air missile system is designed to improve Australia/United States interoperability and combat readiness skills.
The participation of Patriot in Talisman Sabre is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the value this type of capability provides for the protection of deployed forces.”
The Patriot missile is manufactured by Raytheon and owes its name to the AN/MPQ-53 radar component of the system which is known as the “Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target”. It is the U.S. Army’s primary High to Medium Air Defense (HIMAD) system, medium tactical air defense system and anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system. It is expected to stay in service until at least 2040.
Most recently, the Patriot missile system has been employed by Israel and Saudi Arabia against ballistic missiles and hostile drones in the Syrian and Yemeni Civil Wars.