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Ministry of Defence

Ejército de Tierra

'Boletín Tierra' Newspaper Reports

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Number: 4515

Presentation of new Patriot materiel in Marines

The 81st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment (RAAA by its Spanish acronym), based in Marines (Valencia), held a press conference on 8 September to present the Patriot materiel recently acquired from the German armed forces. The unit’s commander, Colonel Manuel Santos, explained the characteristics and capabilities of this air and missile defence system.

Patriot is effective at both short and long range, at high and low altitude, and can be active at all times. It uses guided missiles which intercept and destroy different targets (e.g. tactical ballistic missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles, planes and helicopters) even in the presence of electronic countermeasures.

Colonel Santos also explained the restructuring undertaken within his unit to build a Patriot Group (so far Spain only has one Patriot Battery, belonging to 74th RAAA). In that regard, Groups I/81 and II/81 are expected to be integrated and both the Roland launchers and the 35/90 anti-aircraft cannons they were equipped with will be retired from service. In addition, the 74th RAAA’s Patriot Battery, currently deployed in Turkey, will be integrated into 81st RAAA upon its return to Spain.

The colonel remarked that these changes will mean that the personnel under his command will have to undergo training to update their knowledge in order to be able to use, maintain and repair the new weapons system. To that aim, several courses and seminars have already been organised.

Colonel Santos also referred to the mission NATO has been carrying out in Turkey since January 2013 and 81st RAAA’s likely participation. “If Turkey officially requests from NATO the extension of that mission and Spain decides to continue to be part of it, personnel from our Regiment will take over in 2016,” he pointed out.

At the end of the press conference, participating journalists visited an exhibition of Patriot materiel at the “General Almirante” base which included an engagement control station, a radar set, an electrical power plant, a missile launcher, a guided missile transporter and an antenna mast group with its shelter.

Colonel Santos and the journalists during the exhibition

Colonel Santos and the journalists during the exhibition (Photo: 81st RAAA)