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The US deploys Patriot batteries in Iraq

The distance confrontation between the US and Iran does not stop

Baghdad authorities have announced that following the launch of a missile launch campaign from Iran to US and Iraqi military targets that began in January, the "United States deployed Patriot missile batteries to Iraq to protect its troops". AVIONEWS recalled that after the killing in Iraq of the Iranian general Soleimani by a US drone aircraft, MQ-9 Reaper, also known as Predator B, Iran had responded with a series of missile launches to the US military bases and in particular against the air base of Ain al-Assad, in the west of the country.

Ayn al Asad is an Iraqi and US military base located in Al Anbar governorate in western Iraq, was the second largest US military air force base in the Islamic Nation during the "Iraqi Freedom" operation and was used even by the British Armed Forces. It was built in the 1980s for the Iraqi Army in the desert about 160 km west of Baghdad and is about 300 km from the Iranian border. The Iranian Armed forces had initially fired at least 10 ballistic missiles against the military settlement and had, according to the Pentagon, caused hundreds of American soldiers to be injured.

The Patriot became famous for defending against the SS-1 Scud missiles launched by Iraq against Israel during the 1991 Gulf War. The same batteries were deployed without being used even during the "Enduring Freedom" operation.

However, the version of the Patriot that the US has deployed in Iraq is, in all probability, the most recent, called PAC-3, the only one with real anti-ballistic missile capabilities. The PAC-3 version uses a new type of missile, MIM-104F, which according to some observers, would be the most advanced antiaircraft interceptor missile ever developed for the mission against ballistic missiles. The miniaturization has reduced its size compared to the previous PAC-2, so much so that the original containers ("Cans") can carry four missiles instead of just one. The PAC-3 is very maneuverable even in the final phase of the flight, where the speed decreases and consequently the aerodynamic fins become less efficient, thanks to the control of the trajectory obtained also with small rocket engines mounted laterally to the missile. The effective protective ground area of a Patriot battery against missiles launched from about 300-400 km away is limited -AVIONEWS writes- to that of an air base like Ayn al Asad; hardly the same battery, which is composed, in addition to radars and communication systems, of 4 launchers with 16 PAC-3 each, will be able to defend Baghdad where the US also have important and very personal objectives and which is even closer to the Iranian border. It is therefore likely that the Americans have deployed more than a battery.

The Pentagon has also deployed various Patriot missile batteries in Saudi Arabia, while the same system is used in Israel for the defense of cities and military bases, and on several occasions has shot down drones and missiles/rockets launched from Syrian territory or Lebanon.

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© AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency Srl
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