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KSA Patriot PAC-2 vs. Houthi's BMs


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https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/03/28/patriot-missiles-are-made-in-america-and-fail-everywhere/

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On March 25, Houthi forces in Yemen fired seven missiles at Riyadh. Saudi Arabia confirmed the launches and asserted that it successfully intercepted all seven.

This wasn’t true. It’s not just that falling debris in Riyadh killed at least one person and sent two more to the hospital. There’s no evidence that Saudi Arabia intercepted any missiles at all. And that raises uncomfortable questions not just about the Saudis, but about the United States, which seems to have sold them — and its own public — a lemon of a missile defense system.

Social media images do appear to show that Saudi Patriot batteries firing interceptors. But what these videos show are not successes. One interceptor explodes catastrophically just after launch, while another makes a U-turn in midair and then comes screaming back at Riyadh, where it explodes on the ground.

It is possible, of course, that one of the other interceptors did the job, but I’m doubtful. That is because my colleagues at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and I closely examined two different missile attacks on Saudi Arabia from November and December 2017.

In both cases, we found that it is very unlikely the missiles were shot down, despite officials’ statements to the contrary. Our approach was simple: We mapped where the debris, including the missile airframe and warhead, fell and where the interceptors were located. In both cases, a clear pattern emerged. The missile itself falls in Riyadh, while the warhead separates and flies over the defense and lands near its target. One warhead fell within a few hundred meters of Terminal 5 at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport. The second warhead, fired a few weeks later, nearly demolished a Honda dealership. In both cases, it was clear to us that, despite official Saudi claims, neither missile was shot down. I am not even sure that Saudi Arabia even tried to intercept the first missile in November.

The point is there is no evidence that Saudi Arabia has intercepted any Houthi missiles during the Yemen conflict. And that raises a disquieting thought: Is there any reason to think the Patriot system even works?

In fairness, the system deployed in Saudi Arabia — the Patriot Advanced Capability-2 or PAC-2 — is not well designed to intercept the Burkan-2 missiles that the Houthis are firing at Riyadh. The Burkan-2 flies around 600 miles and appears to have a warhead that separates from the missile itself.

But I am deeply skeptical that Patriot has ever intercepted a long-range ballistic missile in combat — at the least, I have yet to see convincing unclassified evidence of a successful Patriot intercept. During the 1991 Gulf War, the public was led to believe the that the Patriot had near-perfect performance, intercepting 45 of 47 Scud missiles. The U.S. Army later revised that estimate down to about 50 percent — and even then, it expressed “higher” confidence in only about one-quarter of the cases. A pesky Congressional Research Service employee noted that if the Army had correctly applied its own assessment methodology consistently, the number would be far lower. (Reportedly that number was one — as in one lousy Scud missile downed.)

According to a House Committee on Government Operations investigation, there was not enough evidence to conclude that there had been any intercepts. “There is little evidence to prove that the Patriot hit more than a few Scud missiles launched by Iraq during the Gulf War,” a summary of the investigations concluded dryly, “and there are some doubts about even these engagements.”

This report — which called on the Pentagon to declassify more information about the performance of the Patriot and request an independent evaluation of the program — never saw the light of day. A fierce lobbying campaign by the Army and Raytheon spiked it, save for a summary.

Against that background, you can imagine that I was pretty skeptical of the Pentagon’s claims that the Patriot shot down Iraqi ballistic missiles in 2003 — claims that have generally been accepted uncritically. And when I heard that missile defenses were protecting Riyadh, I wanted to see for myself — and, unfortunately, I wasn’t surprised by what I found.

 
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  1. Pic and the text are from different sources. I was more interested in the text so mixing them together may have been a mistake.
  2. It's Foreign Policy text, together with Congressional hearings results, NY Times investigation etc.
Edited by IMHO
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This article is a piece of garbage based on a "social media images" interpretation. Patriots used during during GF1, with MIM-104 missiles were not designed to counter ballistic threats. Another reason why their effectiveness was low, was due to the fact that Iraqis were using modified Scuds with extended range, so the warhead often separated itself accidentally from the main body of the missile, presenting more targets for air defence. Regarding the recent Saudi experience, for some reasons they also seem not to use the most advanced anti ballistic missiles. Yet it also seems that they managed to shoot down most of the incoming missiles, except for some singular cases of failure or missile malfunction, that immediately cause ****storm in the internet. No weapon system is 100% effective but drawing conclusions from singular cases of failure based on incomplete data is amateurish at best, which is so typical to modern day self proclaimed internet experts.

The anti balistic, hit to kill PAC-3 missile has been consistently successful, at least during the tests. Comparing it to older variants of Patriot missiles is like comparing two different weapon systems.

 

 

Edited by Ivanov
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7 minutes ago, Ivanov said:

This article is a piece of garbage based on an incorrect photo interpretation

12 minutes ago, Ivanov said:

drawing conclusions from singular cases of failure based on incomplete data is amateurish at best, which is so typical to modern day internet experts.

Have you READ the article? :D Because it's not based on pics but on estimated trajectories of warheads and debris. As I said I was wrong to include the picture from another source. Do you have good analyses from others? It would be interesting to read.

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2 hours ago, IMHO said:

Have you READ the article? :D Because it's not based on pics but on estimated trajectories of warheads and debris. As I said I was wrong to include the picture from another source. Do you have good analyses from others? It would be interesting to read.

Yes I assume that they estimated the trajectories and saw the warheads and debris images on social media. 

There aren't reliable analyses available to the public. Do you think that it's possible find everything on the internet? My point is, that drawing conclusions based on the fragmentary materials available on the open source, is equally unprofessional, as drawing conclusions that Abrams, Leopard 2 or for that matter T-90 tanks are worthless, because there are videos on the YT, where those tanks explode after being hit by an ATGM. Such "analyses" are good to incite the general public, the author has an obvious agenda here. But they are worthless from the point of serious assessment of the weapons system effectiveness.  

Edited by Ivanov
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To add to @Saint_Fuller's:

https://www.nytimes.com/1993/11/21/world/patriot-missile-s-success-a-myth-israeli-aides-say.html

  • "Moshe Arens, who was Israel's Defense Minister in the gulf war; Gen. Dan Shomron, who was chief of staff of the Israel Defense Force during the war, and Haim Asa, a member of an Israeli technical team that worked with the Patriot missile during the war, say that one or possibly none of the Scuds was intercepted by the Patriots"
  • "Mr. Arens, asked how many Scuds were intercepted by Patriots, said that "the number is minuscule and is in fact meaningless." All concurred with a 1991 report by the Israeli Air Force concluding that "there is no evidence of even a single successful intercept" although there is "circumstantial evidence for one possible intercept."

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/04/world/middleeast/saudi-missile-defense.html (an extended and much more interesting version of what's published in Foreign Policy)

  • Some U.S. officials cast doubt on whether the Saudis hit any part of the incoming missile, saying there was no evidence that it had.
  • During the first Gulf War, the United States claimed a near-perfect record in shooting down Iraqi variants of the Scud. Subsequent analyses found that nearly all the interceptions had failed.
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Again, the Gulf War era Patriot missile capabilities have nothing to do with modern, anti-ballistic PAC-3 versions of the system. It's like comparing the first versions of Abrams with 105mm gun to the incoming SEP v4 with greater firepower, protection and digital networking technology.

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1 hour ago, Ivanov said:

Again, the Gulf War era Patriot missile capabilities have nothing to do with modern, anti-ballistic PAC-3 versions of the system.

We don't know what system revision they used. May be PAC-2 may be PAC-3. DoS approved PAC-3 sale in Jul, 2015. Do you know if they are up and running? I assume three years is enough for some to make it to KSA, is it not?

Edited by IMHO
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55 minutes ago, IMHO said:

We don't know what system revision they used. May be PAC-2 may be PAC-3. DoS approved PAC-3 sale in Jul, 2015. Do you know if they are up and running? I assume three years is enough for some to make it to KSA, is it not?

It was PAC-2 ( MIM-104C ), basically a Gulf War era hardware. If the Saudis signed a deal in 2015, I'm not sure if the new missiles have been even delivered, not to mention being operational. Few days ago Poland purchased two PAC-3 batteries and they are going to be delivered in 2022.

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Turkey says Russian S-400 missile delivery brought forward to July 2019

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - The planned delivery of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile batteries to Turkey has been brought forward to July 2019, the Turkish undersecretary for defence industries said, from the first quarter of 2020. Turkey and Russia signed the S-400 accord in December, finalizing a deal which deepened military ties between NATO member Turkey and the Kremlin. The deal, reportedly worth some $2.5 billion, has worried the West because the system cannot be integrated into NATO’s military architecture.

“We brought forward the delivery date in the accord signed with Russia to provide the S-400 system and got a date of July 2019,” Turkish Undersecretary for Defence Industries Ismail Demir wrote on Twitter overnight. His comment came after the two countries’ presidents held talks on Tuesday and marked the official start of work to build Turkey’s $20 billion first nuclear power station at Akkuyu on its Mediterranean coast.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-turkey-missiles/turkey-says-russian-s-400-missile-delivery-brought-forward-to-july-2019-idUSKCN1HB0IU

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