Stars and Stripes – Missiles on the move: Army circulates Patriot batteries across the Pacific to send message to opponents

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A US Army MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile is fired from Australia for the first time on Friday, July 16, 2021. The missile was launched from the Shoalwater Bay training area in Queensland, during Exercise Talisman Saber. (Australian Defense Force)

The military is showing its ability to rapidly move defensive and offensive missiles in the Pacific amid threats against US bases in Japan.

The final demonstration involves the deployment of Patriot missile defense launchers to Australia for the biennial Talisman Saber exercise.

The exercise, involving 17,000 US, Australian, New Zealand, Japanese, South Korean and British troops, began on Wednesday and included a Patriot battery that downed a pair of drones on Friday in the Shoalwater Bay training area, in Queensland.

The debut of the Patriot Down Under follows a series of similar maneuvers this year.

The military sent a Patriot battery to the southern island of Amami in Japan and a high mobility artillery rocket system to the northern island of Hokkaido during the annual Orient Shield exercise, which took place held from June 24 to July 9.

A US Army MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile is fired from Australia for the first time on Friday, July 16, 2021. The missile was launched from the Shoalwater Bay training area in Queensland, during Exercise Talisman Saber.

A US Army MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile is fired from Australia for the first time on Friday, July 16, 2021. The missile was launched from the Shoalwater Bay training area in Queensland, during Exercise Talisman Saber. (Australian Defense Force)

A US Army MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile is fired from Australia for the first time on Friday, July 16, 2021. The missile was launched from the Shoalwater Bay training area in Queensland, during Exercise Talisman Saber.

A US Army MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile is fired from Australia for the first time on Friday, July 16, 2021. The missile was launched from the Shoalwater Bay training area in Queensland, during Exercise Talisman Saber. (Australian Defense Force)

Sixty-five soldiers from the 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Sagami General Depot in Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo, and Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, are in Australia for Talisman Saber, said Major Joel Sullivan, general manager of 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment, by phone Thursday from Shoalwater Bay.

The troops operate a pair of Patriot launchers, radar, power plant, control station, and brigade and battalion command posts that arrived in Australia by commercial sea from the United States, a. he declares.

Patriot launchers shot down a pair of Phoenix unmanned aerial vehicles, Sullivan said.

Officials released photographs and a video of the Patriot engaging the drones on Friday.

A training goal is to demonstrate the Army’s ability to move around the region, said Brigade Commander Col. Matthew Dalton, of Portland, Connecticut, who oversees air and missile defense units in Japan, y including Okinawa, and Guam.

“Next month we are moving another [Patriot battery] from Okinawa to Hawaii for another exercise, ”he said on a conference call with Sullivan. “We are trying to demonstrate our ability to move our units quickly in the Indo-Pacific to be able to counter any threat that exists … our ability to move quickly to different locations, to set up and establish the defense of a particular asset. . “

The threat of Chinese and North Korean missiles is a constant concern for American commanders in the Far East. As recently as 2017, the North Koreans fired a ballistic missile at northern Japan and tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that experts believed capable of hitting the Americas.

That same year, Google Earth images revealed that China, which has a vast arsenal of missiles, was firing them at targets configured to resemble US bases in Japan.

This week, Communist Party officials in northwest China posted a video, shared on Twitter, that threatened nuclear war with Japan if the country attempted to defend Taiwan from an invasion.

Japan and the United States’ missile defense targets North Korea and is unable to defeat or deter China’s nuclear strike capabilities, according to Riki Ellison, founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, which lobbies for missile defense, deployment and development.

“Japan must rely on assured deterrence by the United States, that is, a nuclear strike by the United States against China if China attacks Japan,” he said. “This is what Japan has relied on since the end of World War II.”

Meanwhile, Brisbane’s Courier Mail newspaper reported on Tuesday that the Tianwangxing – a Chinese naval intelligence vessel – had been spotted inside Australia’s exclusive economic zone in the Coral Sea.

Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton, speaking at the opening ceremony of the Talisman Saber at Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley, said on Wednesday it was “obvious” the ship was spying on the drill.

The military will then move its Patriot battery north to practice defending the task force in an undisclosed location, Dalton said.


Seth Robson



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