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US Army conducts first firing of Patriot missiles from Palau

The first firings of the Patriot missile system on Palau. This capability demonstration was carried out by the US Army's 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment on 15 June 2022. (The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command)

The US Army has demonstrated its ability to engage a simulated cruise missile with targeting data provided by a US Air Force (USAF) F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft.

The exercise marked the first time that the weapon system was fired from the Pacific Island country of Palau.

The demonstration was carried out on 15 June by the Charlie Battery of the US Army Pacific's 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment (1-1 ADA) as part of Exercise ‘Valiant Shield', a biennial joint drill held by the service in theatres such as Guam and the Pacific Islands region.

The Patriot is a ground-based air-defence system that uses a missile interceptor to defeat short-range and medium-range aerial threats such as cruise missiles. Its set-up generally comprises an AN/MPQ-65 radar system, an AN/MSQ-104 battery fire-control unit, short-range and long-range communications units, and a launch station deploying MIM-104 missiles.

As part of the engagement at Palau, two PAC-2 Patriot interceptors were fired to intercept a drone target that emulated the signature and flight characteristics of a hostile cruise missile. Besides the US Army and the USAF, engineers from the United States Marine Corps (USMC) also provided engineering support for the deployment of the Patriot package.

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