Air Defense: November 23, 1999


The Army hopes that by 2003 it will have developed a common launcher for all of its anti-missile systems, including Patriot-2, Patriot-3, MEADS, THAAD, and even the Israeli Arrow. The launchers will be the same internally (i.e., the expensive electronics and software); externally they will be different to accommodate the different sizes of missile. Patriot-3 and MEADS (Medium Extended range Air Defense System) are 5.2m long, weigh 321kg, and can hit targets 15km away. Patriot-2 is 5.3m long, weighs 900kg, and can engage targets at 80km with an explosive fragmentation warfare. THAAD (Theater High Altitude Air Defense) is 5.8m long, weights 600kg, and can hit a target at 200km. Arrow is 7m long, weighs 1,300kg, and can engage targets at 90km with an explosive warhead. --Stephen V Cole


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