Patriot Missile Found In Fla. Scrap Yard

Thomas Veil

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Feb 14, 2004
2,476
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OBJECTIVE reality
PA, Fla. -- A Patriot missile with its guidance system and rocket motor was found in a Tampa scrap metal yard, according to authorities. Explosives experts at MacDill Air Force Base were called to the scrap yard on July 11 to identify an odd-looking object in a heap of junk.

The experts said the object was a surface-to-air missile, minus its warhead -- so it's harmless.

They say it appeared to be a training model, and still had its rocket motor and guidance system.

What the experts don't know is how the missile ended up in the scrap yard.
WKMG

I just did a local documentary about a Medina County, Ohio refuse plant that is one of the best in the nation at recycling.

One of the things I learned was that if you work at the plant, you get to keep anything of value that you find.

Wonder if it works the same way in Florida? :p
 

Maui

macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2007
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Now we know where Cheney's "undisclosed location" is - a scrap yard in Tampa.
 

Lord Blackadder

macrumors G5
May 7, 2004
13,647
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Sod off
That is the scary part- assuming that all someone had to do was strap an explosive onto the rocket, aim, and then fire. :eek:
Missiles are a lot more complex than that - terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda do not yet have the technological know-how to build or repair a missile. Without a warhead it's essentially harmless from a military standpoint, though the guidance system would probably be of interest to Iran or North Korea and so on.
 

Felldownthewell

macrumors 65816
Feb 10, 2006
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Portland
Missiles are a lot more complex than that - terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda do not yet have the technological know-how to build or repair a missile. Without a warhead it's essentially harmless from a military standpoint, though the guidance system would probably be of interest to Iran or North Korea and so on.
Not necissarily...the hard part to replicate on a guided missile is the guidance system and the propulsion system, both the parts left on the rocket. The explosive would be as simple as making an aerodynamic warhead that will explode on contact. Obviously it won't function nearly as well as the army's version and has a way higher risk of A) blowing up on launch or B) failing to hit/take down the target, but reverse engineering the warhead is way easier than trying to replicate the other parts...

However, since the patriot missile requires a radar system (and a truck with the proper launch pad and such) to fire, it is really unlikely anyone could have used the missile as a weapon had they found it and not told anyone. (wikipedia's description)
 

Lord Blackadder

macrumors G5
May 7, 2004
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Sod off
True. But even if any of the better know terrorist organizations had a Patriot, they certainly would not have the tech to replicate the guidance system, interface with it to get it running or (as you pointed out) actually use it since it requires ground radar.

Another thing to think about is that there are Patriots and then there are Patriots...the early generation ones are not able to intercept most ballistic missiles, though they could be used as a regular old ballistic missile maybe (the specified warhead is too small for anything other than a terror raid).

Though the Patriot is one of the most developed of the world's SAM systems, the jury is still out on whether it can actually do what is designed to do. Shooting down a missile with another missile is one of the stickiest of military problems, and while the Patriot works well against aircraft, the two Gulf Wars have shown that it can still be defeated by fairly primitive offensive missile systems.

All other stuff aside though, somebody F'd up on this one...wonder how it slipped through the cracks. Maybe it was just listed as an airframe and sold for scrap but someone forgot to remove the guidance/propulsion bits.