The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface to air missile built for the air defense roles previously undertaken by the Nike Hercules and the Hawk. Designed to defend against high performance air-breathing aircraft the system could simultaneously acquire, identify, track and destroy multiple hostile aircraft.
Patriot contains a proximity fuse that is designed to detonate the warhead when it is close to its target. The blast damages or destroys the target thus thwarting its attack on friendly forces.
In the early 90s it was successfully modified to intercept tactical ballistic missiles which have become a more common threat than aircraft in recent conflicts. The Patriot is the primary air defense system fielded by the United States and its allies and can be found standing guard throughout the world today.
Distinctive Unit Insignia of the 5th Battalion 52d Air Defense Artillery which presently uses Patriot