Missile Defense

October 22, 2003
Iraq’s missile and rocket activity during spring 2003, according to the 32d Army Air and Missile Defense Command.



Iraqi missile



20 March, 0924Z


Three GEMs.  The second self-destructed after launch.

The Iraqi missile targeted TAA Thunder, where 101st AA Div. was located.  First detected by USS Higgins, Aegis cruiser near-by off of Kuwaiti coast. (p.47)

20 March, 1030Z


E/2-43 ADA fired two PAC-3s.

Launch was just south of Al Basrah. 1st recorded combat kill for PAC-3.  Interception reported to be three miles from intended destination ( Camp COMMANDO and Camp Doha ). (p.48)

20 March, 2130Z


“This Ababil-100 was not intercepted, but fell harmlessly into the Persian Gulf .”

Launched from west of Al Basrah. (p.49)

20 March, 2208Z

Al Samoud

“It too was not intercepted and fell harmlessly into the Kuwait western desert.”

Launched from north of Al Basrah. (p.49)

20 March, 2320Z


C/5-52 ADA fired one GEM, one PAC-2 missile.

Reported to be targeted at Camp UDARI . (p.49)

21 March, 1001Z


Kuwaiti Firing Battery 3 unsuccessfully  engaged with one GEM missile, Kuwaiti Firing Battery 5 intercepted TBM with 2 GEMs. 

AMDWS indicated this missile was inbound toward TAA FOX and the city of Al Jahra .  “…this was the sixth Iraqi TBM that was successfully engaged and destroyed by Patriot systems to date and marked the first-ever Patriot engagement in combat by a Kuwaiti Patriot battery.” (p.52)

23 March

Al Samoud

C/5-52 ADA intercepted with one PAC-2 and one GEM. 

The Iraqi missile originated from the area north and west of Basrah. This was the first Al Samoud shot down in combat by a U.S. unit. (p.59)

24 March, 1035Z

Al Samoud

Intercepted by C/5-52 ADA with three GEM+ missiles.

The Iraqi missile originated from Qurnah, north of Al Basrah. (p. 63)

24 March, 1342Z


The missile fell short and landed in the Kuwaiti desert without being intercepted, “causing no damage.”

The Iraqi missile came from north of Al Basrah. (p. 63)

25 March, 1248Z


The missile was intercepted by Kuwaiti Patriot Battery 5.

The Iraqi missile launch was preceded by a couple of hours with the launch of a weather balloon, which the Iraqi army used to determine weather conditions at different atmospheric levels.  The missile was fired from west of Al Basrah. Three separate Patriot batteries attempted to shoot this down: C/6-52 ADA, B/2-1 ADA, and Kuwaiti Patriot Battery 5.  It was the latter who succeeded.  (p.65)

26 March, 1658Z


The missile blew up shortly after launch.

This missile launch again was preceded at 1127Z by Iraqi weather balloons.  (p.67)

26 March, 1250Z



An Air Force F-16 “assumed that a radar signature detected by his aircraft was an enemy air defense radar, and he fired a HARM missile at the ground radar.  The radar belonged to E/5-52 ADA, located at FARP SHELL.  The 125-pound tungsten steel warhead destroyed the radar.” (p. 67)

27 March, 0831Z


Engaged by Kuwaiti Firing Battery 3 and by C/6-52 ADA with two GEM missiles each. 

This missile, coming from north of Al Basrah, was on a trajectory to hit Camp Doha and in fact “Even though intercepted, debris from the TBM continued on its trajectory and landed across Camp Doha .  Had this been a chemical warhead, a small amount of the chemical agent possibly could have contaminated part of Camp Doha .  Fortunately, this was neither a chemical or biological weapon.” (pp. 68-69)

27 March, 2056Z

Either an Ababil-100 or a FROG-7

No Patriots were within range of the missile.  It landed in a “deserted area and did no damage.”

This missile was launched from southwest of Kirkuk in northern Iraq and marked the first time a TBM was used against a target inside of Iraq . (p. 69)

28 March, 2250Z

1 CSSC-3 Seersucker cruise missile

No Patriots engaged the missile. 

The cruise missile was launched from the Al Faw peninsula and struck a pier outside Kuwait City , killing two civilians.  Responses were immediate:  “coalition forces moved aggressively into likely launch sites on the Al Faw peninsula to prevent their use for launches, and Kuwait deployed Amoun batteries within their country to interdict any further missiles launched from the Al Faw [this was now a Missile Engagement Zone]… Great Britain also positioned the HMS York in shallow waters off Kuwait City with the task of intercepting cruise missiles.” (p.72)

29 March, 1500Z


“[T]his rocket was not intercepted and did no damage when it landed in empty desert.”  No Patriot engaged the rocket.

This rocket launch was preceded by the launch of five weather balloons.  The rocket came from northwest Al Basrah and was aimed toward northern Kuwait . (p. 72)

1 April, 0603Z

Al Samoud

C/2-1 ADA intercepted with two PAC-3 missiles. 

The Iraqi missile originated from south of An Najaf and was aimed at U.S. forces inside Iraq .  (p.77)

1 April


No Patriot engaged the missile. 

The missile launch came early in the morning.  It was from north of Karbala and apparently was headed east; however, no impact site could be definitively found.  (p. 78)

1 April

3 CSSC-3 Seersuckers

No Patriots engaged the missiles.

These Seersuckers were fired from the Al Faw peninsula.  Two of them landed near the border between Iraq and Kuwait ; the third landed in Kuwait in an area recently occupied by the I MEF units.  After this, the brigade “directed B/2-43 ADA to execute cruise missile simulation tests to find better ways of intercepting the Seersucker cruise missiles due to their low flight elevations.” (p. 78)

3 April, 0020Z


Outside of the Patriot coverage area and not engaged by the system.  No damage reported from the rocket.

The rocket was launched from Al Hillah and landed in An Najaf . (p. 83)

3 April, 0150Z

2 FROG-7s

Outside of the Patriot coverage area and not engaged by the system.  No damage reported from the rockets. 

The rockets were launched from Al Hillah and landed in An Najaf .  This is the first time the Iraqis were able to simultaneously launch two rockets. (p. 83)

Source: "Operation Iraqi Freedom Theater Air and Missile Defense History," 32d Army Air and Missile Defense Command’s History of the Patriot in Iraq

September 2003.  Available on the Air Defense Artillery magazine’s website at

Author(s): Victoria Samson