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US Army Fires Patriot Missiles for First Time in Australia

The US Army conducted its first-ever MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile test on Australian soil with the Australian Defence Force during a joint military training held on July 16.

Troops from the 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command shot down a pair of Phoenix drones using the weapon system. Footage of the missile preparing to engage the drones were uploaded on social media.

Brigade Commander Col. Matt Dalton said the exercise served as a way for the army “to demonstrate our ability to quickly move our units around the Indo-Pacific to be able to counter any threat that is out there.” After the bilateral training in Queensland, the units will reportedly move another Patriot battery to Hawaii.

Meanwhile, several Australian soldiers admitted that it was the first time they had witnessed the US tactical missile in action. Some of them said the weapon system exceeded their expectations.

“I thought it was going to be one of those underwhelming things,” Private Thomas Sorensen of the Australian 7th Combat Service Support Battalion said through the country’s Department of Defence. “But it’s the biggest weapon I’ve ever seen, that’s for sure.”

MIM-104 Patriot Missile

Produced by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, the MIM-104 Patriot Missile is a long-range, all-weather air defense system designed to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and advanced aircraft. It can detect and hit targets up to 6 meters long, traveling at five times the speed of sound.

The missile has a range of 70 kilometers (43 miles) and a maximum altitude of 24 kilometers (14 miles). The minimum flight time is less than nine seconds with a maximum of three and a half minutes.

The US began using the system during the Second Iraq War in 2003. During that time, the Patriot destroyed many hostile surface-to-surface missiles. The missile system is used in Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Poland, Romania, Taiwan, and other countries.

Exercise Talisman-Sabre 21

The first test of the MIM-104 Patriot Missile on Australian soil took place during Exercise Talisman-Sabre 21, the most extensive combined training activity between the Australian Defence Force and US armed forces.

More than 17,000 soldiers from seven nations participated in a month-long multi-domain exercise focused on strengthening responses to Indo-Pacific security concerns.

Aside from launching the Patriot missile, the exercise involved force preparation activities, ground force maneuvers, amphibious landings, urban operations, and air combat and maritime operations.

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