UAE adds at least 6 Patriot Sites during 2013-2015

UAE New SAM Deployments.

UAE New SAM Deployments.

Satellite imagery shows that the UAE has been busy in the lead up to the Iranian nuclear deal establishing new Patriot surface-to-air missile sites. And apparently, its armed forces have taken a page from the U.S. and deployed the system with its troops conducting operations in Yemen.

Long considered a valuable U.S. ally in the region, the oil-rich UAE has become an important market for U.S.-manufactured military equipment—especially strategic SAM systems. Prior to ordering the Patriot in 2007, the country’s air defense network was largely composed of Raytheon’s medium-range Hawk batteries. The Hawk were first delivered to the desert country in 1987.

Both systems continue to be operated by the UAE’s Air Force and Air Defense. The service also controls the country’s early warning assets whose land-based components are predominantly deployed along the coast. An air element composed of at least two S340 Erieye AEW&C and two Aerostat sites help watch the skies. Overall, the air defense network is setup for point defense with SAM sites positioned around airfields, population centers and strategic infrastructure.

A review of historical space snapshots suggests at least six new Patriot sites were established during 2013-2015. New sites have been indicated on the map above as green triangles while the red triangle represents the U.S.-deployed Patriots at Al Dhafra. The green square is the UAE Patriot garrison located in the heart of Zayed Military City.

Four of the six new sites previously supported Hawk missile batteries. The Hawk no longer appear in residence, according to publicly available imagery from 2015. Some of the batteries may have been redeployed to other empty Hawk sites.

SPC Daniel Nebrida of C Battery, 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery - part of the 35th ADA Brigade - in Osan, Korea, checks canister cable connections on a "live" Patriot missile system positioned toward North Korea.

SPC Daniel Nebrida of C Battery, 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery – part of the 35th ADA Brigade – in Osan, Korea, checks canister cable connections on a “live” Patriot missile system positioned toward North Korea.

A UAE Patriot site is typically composed of 4 transporter erector launcher and one AN/MPQ-65 target engagement radar. The variant the UAE ordered, a Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (or PAC-3), supports up to four launch canisters, each with four missiles—as opposed to one PAC-2 missile per canister. Therefore, each full strength UAE PAC-3 unit is capable of launching up to 64 missiles.

Since completing a capstone exercise with the U.S. Air Defense Artillery School in February 2013, observers have long expected the country to bring its equipment online. That equipment is integral to supporting a joint ballistic missile defense shield with other countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The five other member states include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.

Unfortunately, there’s been little progress toward that goal, with recent reports citing restrictions on data sharing and bilateral training as challenges among the countries. Others however expect that the Iran nuclear deal may further push the defense project ahead as sanctions are lifted. Whether that will be enough to overcome a growing rift among the members, is anyone’s guess.

Despite lacking a joint military capability, the tiny country that U.S. generals have come to call “Little Sparta” continues to improve its air defense network. In December 2011, it purchased two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense systems for $1.96 billion. Two firing units, with 96 interceptors, support equipment and training was included in the deal.

Although a site has yet to be found, it demonstrates the country’s commitment to build a competent multilayered system capable of intercepting inbound ballistic missiles. In doing so, it protects both itself and deployed allies.

This entry was posted in English, General Knowledge, Intelligence.

2 Responses to UAE adds at least 6 Patriot Sites during 2013-2015

  1. According to imagery by Airbus Defence and Space, the Arab coalition fighting to reinstall Yemen’s ousted president has deployed two Patriot fire units to defend its forward operating base in the Ma’rib Governorate.

    The deployment of the Patriot systems effectively confirms there is an ongoing ballistic missile threat to the base as Yemen’s air force has not resisted the coalition since it launched its intervention in March and most (if not all) of its aircraft have now been destroyed on the ground.

    The Ansar Allah group that the coalition is fighting claimed on 4 September that it launched a short-range OTR-21 Tochka ballistic missile at the Safir base. The coalition never confirmed that claim, but reported suffering heavy casualties on that day.

    The UAE’s official WAM news agency initially reported that 22 Emirati soldiers had been killed in Yemen; Saudi media cited Brigadier General Ahmed al-Asiri, the kingdom’s military spokesman, as saying that 10 Saudi soldiers were killed in a missile attack in Ma’rib; and the Bahrain News Agency announced the death of five soldiers that the country had deployed to protect Saudi Arabia’s southern border without saying they were killed in the same incident inside Yemen.

    Source: Jeremy Binnie and Sean O’Connor, “Arab coalition deploys Patriot to Yemen“, IHS Jane’s 360, 08.10.2015.

  2. Interoperability is the watchword for the next phase of development of the Patriot missile-defense system. And it is Patriot users in the Middle East who are leading the way.

    “In 2008, when the United Arab Emirates placed an order for a significant number of Patriot fire units, that really kicked off the resurgence of Patriot,” says Tim Glaeser, vice president of integrated air and missile defense at Patriot prime contractor Raytheon. “The Emiratis agreed to complete the development of some of the critical engineering change proposals that are now in production, and have already been delivered to the UAE.”

    This configuration — called Patriot 3+ — includes “significant improvements to every one of the major end items of equipment,” says Glaeser. But the company is already looking at the next stage in the evolution. Next Generation Patriot will replace the main radar with a Gallium Nitride active electronically scanned array (GaN AESA) sensor, with options for quarter-panel GaN AESA arrays to give 360-degree coverage.

    Next Generation Patriot will also introduce CC2: Common Command and Control. “We’re going to take elements of five existing C2 vehicles and incorporate them into an open architecture,” Glaeser explains. “That’s very important if you want to integrate some of the indigenous capability some nations already have.” But it also permits a greater level of integration between different nations, too.

    “I think they’ve taken the next step,” Glaeser says of the four GCC nations currently operating Patriot. “They’ve said, ‘If I’m interoperable with the U.S., I need to be interoperable with my colleagues to the north and south, to the east and west.’ There’s a lot more focus in the GCC on interoperability, sharing information and working together — even looking at how they could reduce their life-cycle costs by training, maintaining and sustaining together.”

    Source: Angus Batey, “UAE is Driving Next Generation Patriot“, Aviation Week, 07.11.2015.

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