2008: Kuwait is spending $156 million to
upgrade its Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems so that they can use the
PAC-3 anti-missile missile version of the Patriot system. The older Patriot PAC 2 missiles are
used against aircraft (as far away as 70 kilometers). But the Patriot launchers
also fire the smaller (in diameter) PAC 3 anti-missile missiles. A Patriot
launcher can hold sixteen PAC 3 missiles, versus four PAC 2s. A PAC 2 missile
weighs about a ton, a PAC 3 weighs about a third of that. The PAC 3 has a
shorter range, of about 20 kilometers.
Patriot battalion has 12-24 launchers (3-6 batteries). The PAC 3 was used for
the first time during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The Iraqis fired eleven long range
missiles at American targets (usually headquarters) and PAC 3 missiles took
down eight of them.
Kuwaitis want some protection from Iranian ballistic missiles. Several other
nations using Patriot are also upgrading to PAC 3. The manufacturer, Raytheon,
expects billions of dollars in additional sales because so many nations want
protection from Iranian, North Korean or Chinese ballistic missiles.