While Ukraine has announced several times in recent weeks that it has shot down the hypersonic Kinzhal missiles fired in salvos at Kyiv thanks to the two Patriot systems supplied by the United States and Germany, Moscow has embarked on a game of bluff using its best poker face about the success of its equipment – all the while questioning the effectiveness of the enemy's defenses. Let's review the origin and functioning of the American missile system.
Designed in the late 1960s, the Patriot system was developed by Raytheon, an American multinational aerospace and defense conglomerate headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. Its acronym name comes from the radar part of the weapon system: It stands for Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept On Target. The Patriot originally fired MIM-104 missiles, a medium-range surface-to-air missile developed to intercept high-flying aircraft; it was later upgraded to a missile defense system.
In a briefing paper published earlier this year, the Congressional Research Service, the US federal agency under Congress that conducts public policy research, delivered an accurate description of the Patriot system, drawing on information provided by NATO and Raytheon.