AIRAI, Palau - The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command successfully conducted the first-ever Patriot missile live-fire in Palau and the first-ever operational live-fire using F-35A cuing data on June 15th, 2022 at Airai International Airport in Palau as part of Valiant Shield 22.
The launch occurred as planned, with Charlie Battery, 1-1 Air Defense Artillery Battalion successfully intercepting a simulated cruise missile target at approximately 10:00 a.m. local time. The target traveled out to sea on a southeast track, then executed a 180-degree turn and flew towards the airport from the southeast. At this point, two PAC-2 Patriot interceptor missiles engaged the target in salvo mode, with the second Patriot launching three seconds after the first. The interceptor missiles engaged the target approximately 35km off the coast of Palau at an altitude of 10,000 feet and a speed of 350 knots; the first interceptor successfully destroyed the target, and the second interceptor adjusted course to target the largest piece of debris from the first intercept.
The Patriot system is already a combat-proven system, but this exercise saw the first operational use of a new capability to target and engage threats using cuing data from a U.S. Air Force F-35A aircraft. The ability to extend the range that Patriot can detect and engage UASs, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles provides an entirely new capability to the joint force and further increases our ability to defend a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The live-fire was also an opportunity for our logisticians, signal (IT) soldiers, and other professionals to continue to hone their craft. Deploying to different locations throughout the Pacific is how the Army continues to improve and advance its capabilities and readiness. Patriot is the most combat-tested ballistic missile defense system in the world, and the air defenders of 94th AAMDC have successfully conducted four live-fire exercises in the theater in the past two years.
VS22 is a U.S.-only, biennial field training exercise (FTX) focused on integration of joint training in a multi-domain environment. This training builds real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces through detecting, locating, tracking, and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land, and in cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas.