Gulf War Patriot Missiles Intercept Iraqi Scuds
On January 17, 1991, the first Iraqi Scud missile attacks on Israel were launched. There were reports of death and injury, and possibly even chemical weapons being used. For a few tense hours, it looked as though Israel would retaliate against Iraq, causing the allied coalition to break up. Six months of preparation and diplomacy might be undone by a few poorly aimed, 1950s-vintage ballistic missiles. Later that evening, U.S. Patriot surface-to-air missiles were launched against the incoming Scuds, and for the first time in history, a ballistic missile was shot down by another missile. The use of Patriot missiles in Israel’s defense helped to keep that country out of the Gulf War, thereby safeguarding the integrity of the American-European-Arab coalition.
Image: Raytheon Company