On Monday morning, July 17, 2023, the U.S. Army 1-1 Air Defense Artillery Battalion will conduct a Patriot missile live-fire exercise against drone targets from the Roman Tmetuchl International Airport in Airai. This would be the second time the exercise takes place in Palau.
A similar exercise took place in June of 2022 during Exercise Valiant when the US military held its first live-fire drill firing Patriot missile from Palau International Airport out toward the sea.
A press release by the US military said, “The engagement takes place over the ocean with the Palau Bureau of Public Safety enforcing a no-entry zone. The Palau National Aviation Administration will ensure the air space is cleared in advance and a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) will be issued. The U.S. Army has control over the missiles at all stages of the exercise.”
The Patriot is a surface-to-air defense system that uses interceptor missiles to target cruise missiles, drones, and ballistic missiles. Conducting live-fire exercises increases the proficiency of soldiers in their core tasks – defending the people and security of the Republic of Palau in pursuit of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.
Live fire exercises have minimal impact on the environment, as the intercepts destroy the interceptor missile and target drones.