James W. Carter
Vice President, Raytheon Company
Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the committee,
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to provide testimony on the experience of the Patriot system in Desert Storm.
Before I get into the details of my statement, however, I would like to make a few opening remarks. We at Raytheon take great pride in the contributions of the U.S. Army, the American worker and the Patriot system to the coalition's success in the Gulf Conflict.
We take pride in the courage and dedication of the men and women of the United States Army, who under the exceptionally trying conditions of combat, accomplished the first wartime intercept of a ballistic missile in history - a ballistic missile whose characteristics were extremely difficult, unanticipated, beyond the design parameters of the Patriot system, and never trained against nor tested against.
We take pride in the dedication of the Patriot production work force - American workers from 41 states who built quality into the entire Patriot system and gave up weekends, holidays and vacations to build anti tactical ballistic missile-capable missile stocks up from essentially none at the beginning of Desert Shield to over 500 missiles 6at the beginning of Desert Storm. Their country called, our troops called, the lives of citizens in Israel and Saudi Arabia called - and American workers throughout this country delivered.
And lastly, we take pride in the Patriot system. It meets or exceeds all U.S. Army technical specifications. In fact, when it comes to quality, it is seven times better than specification. In Desert Storm it performed better than we could have expected - against a threat that it had not been designed to handle and for a population defense mission that it had never before been asked to perform. In both regards it proved itself to be robust and to be readily adaptable to the unforeseen challenges of the Gulf conflict. Saddam Hussein thought that he could brutalize the citizens of Saudi Arabia and Israel, break the political will to continue, draw Israel into the war and split apart the coalition and inflict massive death and destruction. Well we take enormous pride in the role that Patriot played in proving him wrong.
Our critics say the available data on what Patriot did is inadequate. They want more track files, detailed recorded data, precision instrumentation results and the like so they can study them in the comfort and safety of their offices. Tell them to leave their offices and talk to the men and women of the U.S. Army and the Israel Defense Force who sat in the Patriot shelters with Scuds flying around them and ask them what they saw. Tell them to walk the streets of Dhahran, Riyadh, Tel Aviv and Haifa and ask the men, women and children of those cities what they saw and whether Patriot did any good. And if that's too hard, tell them to read the hundreds of letters from ordinary citizens who voluntarily took the time, in the middle of a war, to express their feelings in writing about what Patriot did for them. Tell them to compare the bottom line of what happened in Saudi Arabia and Israel from Saddam's Scuds with any other situation in which tactical ballistic missiles were fired and against which no defense was present - the V2's in London in World War II, Iraqi Scuds in the War of the Cities, the three Scuds that were fired on an Afghan marketplace. Lastly, ask them if Saddam Hussein's strategic plan was successful. Was Israel driven to respond? Did Saudi Arabia back away from their support of the coalition's campaign because Saddam's Scuds were taking too great a toll? Did the political will of the American people falter because of what they saw in the streets of Israel and Saudi Arabia?
Why then are we here? We are here because individuals such as Theodore Postol have waged a continuous campaign against us and the Army, accusing us of some sort of wrong-doing. He claims that "Patriot didn't work," that we consciously exaggerated its success, that we didn't collect enough data, that it was "scandalous" that we didn't instrument Patriot for detailed data recording, that we were "irresponsible" in modifying Patriot software during the war, and that we and the Army entered into a "conspiracy" to deceive the public. These allegations are wrong, cannot go unanswered and that is why we are here.
The Army will testify on the specifics of Patriot's performance in the Gulf and how their assessments were made. In the remainder of my testimony, I would like to amplify a bit on the difficulty of the threat and provide a common sense assessment of what Patriot did. I will review the public statements made concerning Patriot performance and show that they have been consistent and based upon the facts available at the time. I will show why the technical arguments made by the critics are wrong, unscientific and misleading. I will present our opinion on why these attacks have gone on so long and with such vigor. And I will tell you what we learned from the Ptriot experience in the Gulf and what we are trying to do about it.
its target and presented a much smaller target to the Patriot radar and missile guidance systems. At the time of breakup, this smaller, faster and maneuvering warhead section was also accompanied in flight by the other broken off pieces of the Scud, which in effect created "decoys" for Patriot to distinguish from the warhead. Lastly, because the warhead itself had been made smaller by the Iraqis to help get longer range, it was a more difficult target to destroy.
Even though the Iraqi missiles exhibited all of these difficult characteristics, even though the Patriot had not been designed to handle this type of threat, and even though this kind of TBM had never been tested against or trained for, Patriot successfully defeated about two thirds of the Iraqi Scuds that were targeted on its defended areas. In order to accept the critics' argument that Patriot failed in virtually every intercept attempt, one also has to accept a strange line of reasoning for nearly each and every one of the successful Patriot intercepts the Army assessed - if Patriot didn't work, then miraculously, something else prevented all of these Scuds from exploding high order when they hit the ground, or even more difficult to believe, nobody noticed. Such a line of reasoning defies any semblance of common sense.
Before I review these statements, it is necessary to understand three terms that are often used in discussing anti-tactical ballistic missile (ATBM) performance. The term "engagable" refers to a tactical ballistic missile (TBM) whose trajectory will impact in an area defended by Patriot. An "intercept" is defined as the sequence of events that takes, place when Patriot detects an engagable TBM, launches a missile against it, guides the Patriot to the general vicinity of the TBM and detonates the Patriot warhead. It does not mean that the TBM was destroyed, nor does it imply success. The term "successful intercept" applies to those intercepts that either achieved warhead kills or mission kills. Warhead kills refer to those situations in which a Patriot either detonated the Scud warhead in the air or dudded it such that it did not explode when it hit the ground. Mission kills refer to those situations in which a Patriot intercept damaged the Scud warhead such that it only burned or detonated with significantly reduced explosive force when it hit the ground or diverted the trajectory of the Scud such that it landed away from the area being defended with no significant damage to any structures. All share the same common sense ingredient that damage on the ground was vastly reduced.
Aside from the daily military press briefings, the first public statement concerning Patriot performance was made by President Bush on February 14, 1991. He stated that 42 Scuds had been engagable and that 41 were intercepted. Since the war was still ongoing and since the overall performance assessments had not been made at the time, he said nothing about success rate. In particular, he went out of his way to state that not every intercept resulted in the destruction of the Scud warheads.
On March 15 1991, in response to a press inquiry, Raytheon brought the engagable and intercept numbers up to date, but once again did not specify a success rate, since the
Army had not completed their analysis. On April 25 1991, Raytheon issued a press release and for the first time provided unclassified, ballpark success rates of "just under 90 percent in Saudi Arabia and about 50 percent in Israel,' approved by the Army for public release and reflecting the assessment that existed at the time. As the assessment was further refined, Brigadier General Robert Drolet issued a new public statement on success rates of "over 80 percent in Saudi Arabia and over 50 percent in Israel." These figures reflected both categories of warhead kills and mission kills, as described above, and were approximate representations of the classified numbers. All public statements by Raytheon have used Army approved figures.
We and the Army have been accused of exaggerated claims and hyped figures. The simple answer to this charge is that we said in unclassified versions what we believed to be correct at the time and what was supported by the classified assessment figures. And as we stand here today, with all of the analysis that has been performed since that time, the figures have changed by only about ten percent. Were they exact? No they were not, but neither did they represent any distortion of what was known at the time.
The critics' arguments against Patriot were initially based upon broad and sweeping statements from "unnamed experts in Israel." Who these experts were, what they really knew about Patriot and its performance in the war remain unknown to this day. The Israeli embassy has twice issued statements countering the critics' claims about the unnamed experts.
In addition to statements from the unnamed experts, the critics used newspaper reports of apartment house damage in Israel to support their claims. Their argument centers around their analysis of the comparative levels of damage before and after Patriot was deployed. What is critical in this comparison is the relative number of TBMs that fell on Haifa and Tel Aviv before and after Patriot was deployed. Professor Postol has repeatedly changed his figures on how many Scuds fell before and after Patriot was deployed from initially "l 5 percent more before Patriot was deployed" to about an equal number before and after the deployment of Patriot, to twice as many after Patriot was deployed. The true number is even greater than Professor Postol's last estimate. He also failed to differentiate superficial damage such as broken windows and shutters from major such as buildings destroyed or structurally damaged. An apartment unit with a broken window was treated equally with one that was totally demolished. As it has become clear from proper analysis that Patriot did indeed reduce damage, even the critics have backed away from their previous claims on this subject.
Professor Postol and his collaborator in Israel, Reuven Pedatzur, have both claimed that the Patriot radar and the missile guidance became "confused" when the Scuds broke up and went after the wrong objects. These statements by the critics demonstrate a total lack of understanding as to how Patriot works, rather than a failure of the Patriot system. When the Patriot radar detects and tracks an object it assigns a track number to the
target. When a missile is launched, it guides on the target with this track number. If the target then breaks up, the object with the closest velocity and trajectory to the original object maintains the original track number and the missile keeps guiding on it. Since the warhead section of the TBM remains more or less on the same trajectory with about the same velocity as the original unbroken Scud, the missile keeps guiding on it and never transfers to the other fragments which slow down very rapidly and fall behind the warhead. These other objects are placed in additional new track files. Thus, a missile that was guiding on an unbroken Scud continued to guide on the warhead section after breakup. What the breakup did do, however, is cause additional missiles to be launched against large and heavy fragments until the operators learned to distinguish these pieces and inhibit launches against them.
Professor Postol has publicly stated that he finds it "scandalous" that precision data recorders had not been installed in all Patriot fire units prior to the war. The facts are, however, that such recorders simply did not exist prior to the war with the data capacity and bandwidth required to record Patriot track and engagement data; the ruggedness and environmental characteristics necessary to operate reliably in conditions common to tactical warfare; the small size required to be able to be installed in available space within a Patriot control unit; and the documentation, logistics and training aids necessary to provide maintenance in the field. Such devices were under development prior to the war, but had not yet become available, and in fact are still in development today. Some personal computer-based recorders were attached to the Patriot toward the end of the war, but these were unreliable, not militarily rugged and required special expertise to operate and maintain. They were of virtually no use in assessing Patriot lethality, but were only used to provide more detailed data on the target characteristics. Their use was not widespread, however, since they were not mature products, had not been fully tested under tactical conditions, in a few instances failed to operate, and in many cases prevented the Patriot system itself from operating. What would truly have been scandalous would have been to have a data recorder shut down a Patriot system during an engagement, simply in an attempt to gather "scientific" data. It is worth noting that even on the test range where full precision instrumentation is used and data is directly collected from the missile in flight, ground inspection teams are immediately sent out after a shot to examine debris on the ground.
Professor Postol and Mr. Pedatzur have repeatedly criticized the Army for implementing software changes during the war in order to adapt to the unexpected nature of the threat and the new operational mission of population defense. Their critical statements regarding these modifications and the 'facts" they present are simply wrong. There were exactly two modifications made during the war, they were fully tested either through live firing or simulation and for the most part they represented a fine tuning of existing procedures. Although software adaptation is new to modern warfare, learning to cope with new threats and missions is not. In World War 11, the British were faced with trying to adapt their air defenses to the German V1's. As their learning increased, so did their
success rates. Five weeks into their new mission, they were successfully intercepting 57 percent of the V1's. Five weeks later their success rate had increased to 74 percent and a week later to 90 percent. Patriot, of course, only shared the first five weeks' experience (and a similar overall success rate), but during that time extensive learning was going on. There is no way know for certain, but it is highly probable that had the war continued, which thankfully it didn't, learning and adaptation would have continued and the success rate would have continued to climb.
Recently Professor Postol cites "evidence" of Patriot failures in the form of video clips of Scud engagements taken by network and cable TV during the war. He contends that the TV clips show that Patriot missed its targets. Two things are wrong with Professor Postol's contention.
Why, more than a year after the successful conclusion of the war, is Patriot still being attacked? We believe that Patriot has been caught up in the middle of a much broader debate. Some take strong issue with the notion of strategic ballistic missile defense and the SDI program. They believe that Patriot's success, if unchallenged, will give a boost to SDI and National Missile Defense. Strong hints of this broader issue appear in many of the critics' writings, in which their critical accounting of Patriot's performance and so called problems in the Gulf War are then used as a basis for presenting their views on why strategic defense can't or won't work. In fact, the threat is different, the technology is different and the mission requirements are different. The case for one should not be made on the case for the other, from whichever perspective one chooses to look.
Other critics, and in particular Israeli industry representatives or their supporters, have an obvious interest in promoting the advantages of their own defense systems. At the forefront of this promotion campaign has been the Arrow missile, a program that has been 80 percent funded by the U.S. As fears grow about its future funding and development status, some mistakenly believe that it will not be successfully completed unless Patriot's accomplishments are diminished significantly. They are wrong, since Patriot and Arrow are complementary, rather than the enemy of each other. It seems highly inappropriate for these industry representatives, funded largely out of U.S. dollars which could have been used to support U.S. defense workers in a declining U.S. defense budget, to market their own products by criticizing the performance of U.S. systems, further jeopardizing the jobs of American workers and the U.S. defense base by undermining potential sales in the foreign market.
There were a number of lessons learned in this first ever encounter with tactical ballistic missiles in wartime and there is clearly room for improvement. Lethality should be improved to provide a higher probability of catastrophically killing the TBM warheads. Intercept altitude should be raised so that debris falls further away from the defended areas and to provide as much safeguard as possible against the potential use of chemical or biological TBM warheads. The area of protection on the ground from a single fire unit must be expanded, particularly in light of the continued use to protect sprawling urban areas. Software must be added to automatically distinguish warheads from fragments or decoys, rather than requiring operators to adopt special procedures to do this manually. Deployment must be made easier to accomplish and setup time and preparation must be reduced. Airlift must be reduced and flexibility must be added in the type of airlift required. Fortunately the ongoing Patriot upgrade programs address all of these needs. These upgrades have been endorsed by the Army, the SDIO, the Defense Science Board, and even the critics themselves. These improved capabilities will be a reality over the next few years and will allow our soldiers and our allies to do an even better job in protecting innocent civilians and military personnel and assets against the next tyrant who tries to use terror to accomplish his political aims.
It would seem best to focus all of our attention and resources on achieving the objectives outlined above as rapidly as possible, rather than diluting our current efforts in an unproductive debate, chasing issues that happened over a year ago and which are not germane to our future capabilities. In the declining military budget environment that both industry and the services are faced with today, we can ill afford to continue to spend time and resources reliving the past rather than preparing for the future.
Thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts with you.