By Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew KeechiNovember 1, 2018
FORT SILL, Okla., Nov. 1, 2018 -- After seven years in development, the inaugural Allied Patriot Top Gun (APTG) Course launched July 30, at Fort Sill. Two months later, the first eight foreign officers graduated from the course.
APTG offers a graduate-level curriculum to Soldiers from partner nations on Patriot system planning and employment. A mirror image of the U.S. course, the APTG alternately focuses on ballistic missile defense (BMD) planning considerations and gives host nations expertise in the air defense posture against threats to their home countries. This course provides a significant strategic planning value for allied partners in the U.S. Central Command area of operations.
The Patriot Top Gun Course has been offered to Army officers since its inception in 2005 and has prepared nearly 120 officers to serve as planners and advisers for Patriot systems worldwide. The course provides a comprehensive curriculum of radar theory, joint interoperability, ballistic missile defense enabling platforms, such as the E-2 Hawkeye, the E-3 AWACS, and the Aegis, advanced ballistic missile threat analysis, and Patriot capabilities and limitations. The course teaches the art and science of air and missile defense (AMD) design and is a major tool in AMD planning.
Patriot Top Gun subject matter experts from across the country are key to the program's success. The student's capstone event is to present a plan for air and missile defense of assigned assets.
Students present their plans, which are graded by an expert panel comprised of Patriot Top Gun graduates, and planners who have already designed in-theater plans.
Combined training has long been a part of Army history, and the tradition continues at the Army Air Defense Artillery School at Fort Sill. Many foreign partners of the U.S. receive ADA instruction in varying degrees, but the detail of instruction afforded by APTG has changed how future courses will be conducted.
International cooperation in training is in line with the secretary of defense lines of effort that "provides avenues for peace [and] tempers the plans of those who would attack other nations or try to impose their will over the less powerful."
Ballistic missile and aerial threats will continue to advance their capabilities, and it is essential we continue to develop our air defense forces in parallel to combat the threat. Allied Patriot Top Gun will be offered for years to come.