MIM-104 Patriot Might Just Be the Ultimate Missile Killer

Patriot Missile Battery U.S. Military

MIM-104 Patriot Might Just Be the Ultimate Missile Killer

The destruction of a MIM-104 Patriot air-defense system in Ukraine by Russia marks a notable setback for Kyiv's defenses against aerial threats.

Summary: The destruction of a MIM-104 Patriot air-defense system in Ukraine by Russia marks a notable setback for Kyiv's defenses against aerial threats. This advanced U.S.-made system, capable of targeting aircraft, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles from afar, represents one of the most sophisticated military aids provided by Washington to Ukraine. Its loss underlines the escalating intensity of the conflict and the high value placed on such defensive capabilities.

Ukraine's Defense Takes a Hit with the Loss of a Crucial Patriot Air-Defense System

Earlier this month, Russia successfully destroyed a MIM-104 Patriot air-defense system in Ukraine, marking a significant loss for Kyiv’s forces. The U.S.-made anti-aircraft defense system has been considered a high-value target as it was designed to detect, track, and intercept an enemy’s aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles. The Patriot can integrate high-performance radar and sophisticated computer systems for precise guidance and control, allowing for the simultaneous engagement of multiple threats.

It was one of the most sophisticated weapons that Washington provided to Kyiv last year, as it is capable of countering Russia’s ballistic missiles, and unlike other air-defense systems supplied by the West, the Patriot can also strike targets at a much farther distance.

The European Patriots

The MIM-104 Patriot is also protecting nineteen NATO nations in Eastern Europe, and its use will be further expanded by the international military alliance.

That latter fact was noted as Raytheon—the maker of the platform—secured a $1.2 billion contract with the German government. Berlin will receive the latest Configuration 3+ design, complete with the primary radar, control station, and launcher platforms.

The company will also supply corresponding spare parts and support services.

“This contract reflects the global emphasis on advanced air and missile defense capabilities and the steadfast confidence in Patriot,” said Tom Laliberty, president of Land and Air Defense Systems at Raytheon. “With this expansion, Germany will not only modernize its own significant air defense but enhance its interoperability with allies and further strengthen a core NATO mission.”

Germany has already been operating eleven of the systems.

NATO further signed a framework agreement in January, which would see upwards of 1,000 Patriot missiles deployed across Europe to reinforce the alliance’s air defense, in response to Russia’s continuing war in Ukraine. In addition to the recent commitment from Berlin, NATO members Romania, the Netherlands, and Spain signed the $5.5 billion initiative.

Doing What it Was Designed to Do

The fact that the Patriot is being so widely employed in Europe shouldn’t come as a surprise, as it was developed in the 1970s to counter Soviet missiles. It features an advanced aerial interceptor missile and high-performance radar systems.

However, the MIM-104 gained fame during the Persian Gulf War, with the claimed engagement of over forty Iraqi Scud missiles. Ukraine employed the Patriot system to shoot down Russian ballistic missiles, including the air-launched Kinzhal.

Ukraine Needs More Patriots

Officials in Kyiv have put out an urgent call for additional Patriot air-defense systems following the loss of one of the systems this month, as well as due to increased Russian missile and drone attacks.

“Give us the damn Patriots,” Kyiv’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, told Politico in an interview published on Monday. “If we had enough air defense systems, namely Patriots, we would be able to protect not only the lives of our people, but also our economy from destruction.”

Author Experience and Expertise: Peter Suciu

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: [email protected].