00:59 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Members of US 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command stands next to a Patriot surface-to-air missile battery during the NATO multinational ground based air defence units exercise Tobruq Legacy 2017 at the Siauliai airbase. (File)

    Pentagon May Replace Patriot Systems in US Pacific Territories After Saudi Aramco Attacks

    © AP Photo / Mindaugas Kulbis
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    The Saudi oil facility was reportedly protected by two Patriot systems, but despite that, it was crippled in a combined missile-drone attack on 14 September. A source in the Russian Defence Ministry linked their failure to the system's "low efficiency".

    Commander of the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) General Charles Brown has stated in an interview with Aviation Week that he is interested in equipping US military bases across the Indo-Pacific region with laser weapons powered by "a small nuclear reactor" to better protect them from aerial attacks. The general suggested that such systems may be more effective than "larger and heavier interceptor-based systems", such as Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) or Patriot systems.

    The latter's reputation recently suffered a blow after the much vaunted system failed to avert the devastating attack of missiles and drones on Saudi Aramco oil refineries on 14 September. The US reacted to the incident by deploying an additional battalion of Patriots to Saudi Arabia.

    apon system is involved in the integrated training on fire control and management of the Far Eastern Military District's Fifth Army at Sergeyevsky base in Primorye Territory. File photo
    © Sputnik / Vitaliy Ankov
    The Pantsir-S1 short range missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system is involved in the integrated training on fire control and management of the Far Eastern Military District's Fifth Army at Sergeyevsky base in Primorye Territory. File photo

    However, Israeli air defence systems engineer Uzi Rubin indicated in an interview with the Defence News media outlet that the systems are ineffective against such attacks because the targets were moving below the horizon, rendering them undetectable to Patriot radars. He argued that proper local defences, consisting of for example Russian Pantsir S1 (NATO reporting name SA-22 Greyhound) systems with dual 2A38M 30 millimetre automatic cannons equipped with infrared direction finders, would be able to fill such a "gap".

    Earlier, a source in the Russian Defence Ministry stated that the Patriots failed to repel the attack, which halved Saudi crude output for days, because of their low efficiency. The source added that the Patriot system’s declared specifications may not match its real capabilities, judging by their efficiency in the 14 September incident.

    Related:

    US Patriots Couldn’t Repel Attack on Saudi Oil Facilities Due to Low Efficiency – Russian MoD Source
    Erdogan Says Turkey's Purchase of American Patriot Systems is 'Not Off the Table'
    US to Deploy Patriot Battery, 200 Troops to Saudi Arabia After Oil Attacks - Pentagon
    Turkey Can Buy US Patriot Anti-Aircraft System, Along With Russian S-400s - Erdogan
    Tags:
    laser weapons, MIM-104 Patriot, Pacific, US, Pentagon
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