Today, the United States Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, announced the deployment of two United States Patriot air and missile defense batteries to Turkey in response to the currently escalating situation in Syria of Scud missile firings and the potential placement of chemical weapons on aircrafts and on Scud missiles that threaten the country of Turkey. Article 4 of the NATO charter has been put forward by Turkey and accepted by NATO for protection of Turkey provided by the alliance partners. The United States, Germany, and the Netherlands have each committed two Patriot air and missile defense batteries in response.
The three NATO countries that are providing Patriot batteries will look to go into rotation in the beginning of January. The two U.S Patriot batteries will most likely come from Fort Bliss, Texas under the 32nd Army Air Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) as the U.S. 10th AAMDC, in Germany, have their limited Patriot batteries committed to the defense of Israel and the 94th AAMDC, in Hawaii, have their Patriot Batteries committed, in Korea and Okinawa, Japan, against North Korea.
A Patriot battery is composed of eight launchers but can control as many as 16 launchers. Each launcher has an initial load of four to 16 missiles depending on the missile type and launcher configuration. One phased-array radar is attached to each battery which can search, track, acquire targets, and guide the interceptors to their target.
In the global inventory, the United States has 60 Patriot batteries and allies of the United States including but not limited to Germany and the Netherlands have 128 Patriot batteries. Still, this is not enough to handle the growing missile proliferation around the world.
Patriot batteries will defend very effectively against air breathing threats as well as short range ballistic missiles. The United States Army also fields a Counter Rocket Artillery and Mortar defense (C-RAM) battery capability that could provide additional supplementary protection if required.
The absolute critical part of the readiness, functionality, and performance of the Patriot battery is its war fighters that operate the system. Each and every Patriot battery war fighter, including the Germans, Dutch, and our allies are all trained and integrated with U.S. soldiers, at the 30th ADA Brigade, at the school house, in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Missile defense is now a global fight of one team, made up of many countries that have moved beyond a “joint” service team mentality to become a global force and capability. There is no better example of this than what is taking place in Turkey today as this global team is preserving the peace and preventing a war.
There is also no better place to be right now then to be here with the war fighters at the global school house for air and missile defense at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
These are the men and women that are going into the global fight to defend, protect, and preserve peace. They are to be truly honored, recognized, and treasured for what they do and what they are about to do.
MDAA was honored to be with them today in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.