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Operation Iraqi Freedom - Patriot

The original US PATRIOT Stance in Support of Operation Southern Watch/Operation Desert Spring consisting of 2 Batteries in Kuwait at Ali Al Salem and Al Jaber; 1 Battery at Riyadh Airbase and 2 Reduced Readiness Batteries at Eskan/PSAB. Strategic Defended Assets were Riyadh, KSA A/3-43; Ali Al Salem, KU B/2-1; Al Jaber, KU D/2-1.

Serial 165 brought in the Patriot Defense of the Theater Support Center at Arifjan. Included in this package was an additional Patriot Battalion Headquarters at Al Jaber, one PATRIOT battery defending Arifjan and a direct support maintenance company. On 13 December 2002, the RRB at PSAB was activated. Serial 167 brought in a PATRIOT BTRY to provide TAMD for the CENTCOM forward HQs at As Saliyah and was co-located with the alternate CAOC at Al Udied.

Serial 174 brought in the initial tactical Patriot forces into Kuwait. Included in this package was the 108th Brigade Headquarters and the 2-43 Battalion Headquarters in support of I MEF. Additionally, the Kuwait strategic stance was enhanced with the addition of two PATRIOT batteries for 2-1 ADA to provide additional coverage of Kuwait Naval Base and Camp Doha. The early arrival of key staff of 11 Bde (-) facilitated the early assumption of command of the US units in Kuwait by the Brigade. The early arrival of personnel into the AOR in conjunction with existing float equipment provided an additional minimum engagement PATRIOT capability that was designated "SHORTSTOP". This capability provided coverage of the COMCFLCC critical aircraft staged at Udairi. Eucom Assets were deployed to ISRAEL as part of Exercise Juniper Cobra and retained ISO CONPLAN 4305. Forces in Israel remained under the C2 of USEUCOM, however, 32d AAMDC retained situational awareness throughout the operation.

Over a period of 5 days, 1-7 ADA MEPs were deployed via strategic airlift to provide coverage of critical strategic assets in Jordan. Also included with the DEPORD 179 was the additional personnel required to man the other Reduced Readiness Battery in Saudi Arabia.

Serial 177 set the desired TAMD LD stance deploying strategic assets to Bahrain and Qatar and bringing in additional tactical assets for V Corps and the MEF to include the additional EAC Brigade Headquarters, Corps Brigade Headquarters and 5-52 Battalion Headquarters. Also deployed with this serial was an additional 2 sets of float equipment providing the capability to stand up two additional shortstop packages. Changes to the defended asset list moved the batteries from Eskan and Riyadh to Ar Ar and Tabuk.

On 15 March 2003, under NATO command and control, the Dutch deployed three PATRIOT batteries to Turkey to provide TAMD of Diyabakir and Silopi. On 20 March, CFLCC initiated ground operations into IRAQ. Initial combat power moving into IZ was 3 PATRIOT batteries for V Corps and 3 PATRIOT batteries for I MEF. The arrival of initial boats from Force Module 1 brought an additional battery for V Corps and I MEF. Early arriving personnel from this force package provided shortstop capability to provide coverage of aircraft located at Thunder Road and Camp Udairi, Kuwait, and Coyote/Umm Qsar.

On 23 March 2003, 32d AAMDC made modifications in the TAMD task organization to provide additional combat power into Kuwait. C/2-1 previously located at Arifjan was chopped to 31st Brigade for movement into IZ. C/6-52 conducted RIP with E/2-43 at Camp Doha and E/2-43 was returned to its battalion to provide support to I MEF. Under NATO control, 5-7 ADA deployed a headquarters and 2 PATRIOT batteries to Turkey. D/3-43 and HHB/3-43(-) moved from Qatar via LSV to Kuwait. D/3-43 conducts RIP of C/6-52 and assumes Camp Doha defense. C/6-52 moves to IZ as part of TF Adder. Force Module 2-4 brought in the remainder of 6-52 from Germany. After RSOI, they moved into IZ in support of V Corps..

The Iraqi military came within seconds of possibly wiping out the headquarters of the coalition ground forces with a missile on 27 March 2003. The missile was intercepted and destroyed by a U.S. Patriot missile shortly before it could have hit its target.

On 01 April 2003 Force Package 1 equipment for C/D 5-52 and B/2-43 arrived, freeing up two sets of shortstop equipment. A/3-2 fell in on the Shortstop #2 equipment, moved to Camp Doha, and RIP with D/3-43. Together with HHB/3-43(-), D/3-43, and C/6-52, 3-43 assets formed TF Adder and moved to LSA Adder in IZ

On 09 April 2003, as the mission at Thunder Road terminated, D/5-52 relieved A/3-2 from Camp Doha. Shortstop equipment is returned to Arifjan. E/3-43 is released from Qatar and moves to Kuwait. MODLOC ships from 4 ID arrive in Port and bring the Battalion (-) consisting of 3 BTRYs from 1-1.

Elements of 1-44 ADA secured the Presidential Palace in Tikrit to allow the Division HQ's to be established at the palace. The air defense elements guarding the palace successfully defended the palace multiple times from small arms, RPG, and mortar attacks from noncompliant forces.

At termination of hostilities and the defeat of the IZ TBM threat, CENTCOM released TAMD forces from coverage of the DAL on 18 April 2003.

Friendly Fire

The antimissile system was involved in the downing of two allied warplanes, resulting in the deaths of three airmen. The two aircraft - a U.S. Navy F/A-18 and a British Royal Air Force Tornado - were the only instances of planes being shot down during the war. A third plane narrowly escaped becoming a victim of the Patriot system. In this third incident, a U.S. Air Force F-16 fired on a Patriot battery but there were no deaths or injuries.

The investigation into the 22 March 2003 friendly fire incident between a U.S. Patriot missile system and a British Royal Air Force aircraft was completed in May 2004. While there was no single specific finding of fault, the investigation revealed several contributing factors that led to the downing of the British Tornado and death of two British servicemembers. Among those factors was a failure in the aircraft's Interrogation Friend or Foe (IFF) transponder, which resulted in the Patriot missile system misidentifying the Tornado. The investigation board determined that the Patriot crew fired in perceived self-defense in accordance with existing procedures and Rules of Engagement.

Lessons Learned

In Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) the system was successful in performing its mission protecting troops and assets against enemy tactical ballistic missiles (TBM). Patriot systems intercepted all nine Iraqi TBM missiles they engaged, with nine of nine intercepts resulting in destruction of the incoming enemy missile.

Although AMD soldiers and equipment performed admirable, theye encountered training and interoperability issues that may have been a contributing factor in causing friendly fire incidents resulting in lose of life, damage and/or destruction to millions of dollars worth of equipment.

The PATRIOT units' focus on Table VIII qualifications limited their ability to execute assigned missions. For the majority of PATRIOT units table eight gunnery certification is viewed as an end point in the unit training cycle. Table eight focuses on only 5 mission essential tasks: march order the FU/BN fire distribution section (FDS), emplace the FU/BN FDS, conduct air defense operations, conduct missile reload operations, and conduct Reconnaissance, Selection and Occupation of Position (RSOP). These tasks are for the most part conducted in a controlled environment with no other distractions. This narrow focus on a limited number of tasks fails to train units on how to operate in a war time environment. The fixed site TBM only mentality has led PATRIOT units to believe that if they are successful at Table VIIIs they will be successful at war.

The Integration/Defense Design with other PATRIOT BNs (US and Allied) and other weapon systems was done on the fly. No information, documentation, or test results were available to the war fighter on how to successfully integrate multiple PATRIOT BNs or other endospheric weapon systems. Units within Israel and Kuwait (KU) had been operating with Host Nation PATRIOT and other weapons systems for a number of years. However, no data on the impact of operating in this manner was available prior to the start of OIF.

Long-haul communication equipment was a major shortfall in current Patriot Brigades. There was no emphasis on integrating PATRIOT into the Joint Data Network in Kuwait even though it is probable that PATRIOT will be the only platform that detects the short range ballistic missile threat. JTIDS radios proved invaluable on noncontiguous battlefield, but units must have repair parts in active theaters. Units suffered from inadequate FAADC3I contractor support and Class IX availability and delivery.

Autonomous/Independent operations accounted for six of nine engagements. DSP detected only 4 of the 17 missile events; picked up ATACMs but did not detected Ababils, Al Samouds. Early warning was severely degraded and unreliable during extensive maneuver operations since there was little time to set radars. There was a failure to receive tactical ballistic missile early warning through LINK-16 and mobile subscriber equipment network (MSE).

General knowledge of PATRIOT initialization tabular data and its origin/impact on how the air battle is fought is minimal. Operators did not understand the various tabular entries required for their system as outlined in the Tactical Standing Operating Procedure (TSOP), Area Air Defense Plan (AADP), and Special Instructions (SPINS). Operators did not know the purpose of the parameters, where it came from or why it was needed. When asked why a tabular entry was set to a specific value, the soldiers normally responded because the TSOP or the PATRIOT Information and Coordination Central (ICC) told us to set it to that number.

Patriots were on "weapons free," meaning a battalion could launch without higher approval. WCS "Free" for TBMs presents risk in the SRBM fight, since airspace Control and deconfliction remains a Joint problem. There was a need to reduce target identification uncertainty with engagement criteria tied to threat and friendly platforms. This would increase friendly protect; procedurally and technically.

The information flow between Prince Sultan Air Base (PSAB), Saudi Arabia, Kuwait (KU), and Jordan did not occur. Information regarding anomalies experienced in various PATRIOT locations throughout the theater was not shared with each other. Soldiers struggled telling the difference between false missile tracks and the real thing.

The dense joint and coalition battlespace contributed to significant electromagnetic interference, creating significant issues with spurious tracks and IFF problems.

Spurious TBMs injected over the JDN by the Marine TAOC was observed in Jordan for a number of months prior to the start of OIF. TF 1-7 had experienced it since their arrival. This information was not shared with PATRIOT units supporting the Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) in KU. When the TAOC in KU came on line the injection of spurious tracks was not expected. Similarly, ARM and TBM anomalies experienced by units in KU were not shared with units coming into theater or units in Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, or Bahrain. Methods for disseminating information throughout the PATRIOT force and a system to conduct theater-wide training to counter anomalies were non-existent. Had these experiences been shared throughout the AOR then the problem with spurious TBMs injected by outside sources could have been minimized.

Application of lessons learned in OIF has already improved upon Patriot's performance and the system will be continuously refined. Improvements include combinations of hardware modifications, software changes and updates to tactics, techniques and procedures. Some changes include the integration of satellite radio technology at the Battalion Information Coordination Central which provides improved situational awareness through voice and data connectivity with higher headquarters Identification and Engagement Authority as well as enhanced command and control; and software improvements that enable better identification, classification and correlation of airborne objects.

The low reliability of positive electronic means of identification continues to mandate the upgrading of equipment, training and use of procedural methods of identification. Exercising the Joint Identification Authority from the Area Air Defense Commander down to the lowest fight element is critical. Joint datalink architectures must be designed to support the identification and engagement authority functions. New technologies/techniques as well as IFF and ESM upgrades must be explored to provide positive friendly/hostile identification at the lowest command level possible.




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