Air Defense: December 9, 2001


The US Army is studying the idea of using Patriot (air-defense) missiles for precision surface-to-surface attacks. The older Hawk missiles had a nominal surface-to-surface capability. In theory, their radar detonators would explode the fragmentation warhead over an enemy target. The problem is North Korean mobile 240mm rocket launchers, which have more range than US artillery and can strike targets at will. The idea would be to use older missiles (those built before the Patriot Advanced Capability 2 or PAC-2) which the Army had planned to discard. The idea is that a radar would detect the launch of a North Korean 240mm rocket, calculate the trajectory, and trigger the launch of a Patriot Precision Strike missile that would reach the launcher's location before it could leave, and destroy it with its fragmentation warhead.--Stephen V Cole


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