The medium/long-range surface-to-air missile system largely used by the US Defence Forces and many other allied countries started his design in the 60’s, but it was in the 70’s when the company Raytheon started the development of the Patriot. After many years of requirements, the former called SAM-D (Surface-to-Air Missile - Development) was finally designed as XMIM-104A Patriot in 1976. Four years after that the MIM-104A started its production and was deployed in the US Army by 1984.
At the end of the 80’s the missile incorporated a modified guidance and navigation hardware that gave it the name of MIM-104B. This weapon had the same anti-aircraft/anti-missile capability but was improved against ground-based radar jamming sources.
The most important changes were made by the PAC (Patriot Advanced Capability) program, that modified the Patriot in 1986 adding new software to the search and track algorithms and the phased-array radar.
In 1987 the PAC-2 program was put the new missile MIM-104C with a warhead more lethal against ballistic missile warheads and a new pulse-Doppler proximity fuse. This was the version used in the Gulf War against the modified SS-1 Scud Iraqi missiles known as “Al-Hussein”.
PAC-2/GEM (MIM-104D) program modified the Patriot with improvements against low-RCS (Radar Cross Section) targets, and an improved fuse against high-speed ballistic missiles.
PAC-2 added more improvements to the Patriot in three different phases. Config-1 was installed in 1995 and incorporated changes in the Engagement Control Station (ECS) and a new Doppler-radar in the MIM-104D missiles. Config-2 was installed in 1996 and improved the radar and incorporated MIM-104E missiles. Config-3 is the last upgrade so far and its main characteristic is the change of the missile, a smaller one called PAC-3(which leads to confusion because PAC-3 program also had MIM-104) and developed by Lockheed Martin. Now, every container can carry four missiles instead one. Furthermore the system has improved his radar (AN/MPQ-65).
More than 12000 MIM-104 Patriot missiles have been built and are serving in many allied countries. The Patriot role is to provide defence against aerial threats, whether missiles or aircrafts. Its main characteristics are a prompt answer, capability to track several targets simultaneously, good ground mobility, and the ability to resist electronic jamming.
The Trumpeter model kit represents a PAC-2 version as used in the Gulf War in 1991, being used in action for the first time.