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Patriots to Deploy to Turkey

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 1999 – The United States is sending a Patriot missile battery to Turkey as a precautionary measure against Iraqi threats made immediately after Operation Desert Fox in December.

Defense Secretary William S. Cohen signed orders Jan. 16 deploying units of the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, based near Frankfurt, Germany. The Patriot anti-ballistic missile was used during the Gulf War to help defend Saudi Arabia and Israel against Iraqi Scud missile attacks. Its capabilities have been continually upgraded since the war.

Army officials here said at least three Patriot launchers and about 150 soldiers will deploy to Turkey and become part of Operation Northern Watch, conducted from Incirlik Air Base, a Turkish facility near Adana. At present, 38 U.S. aircraft patrol the no-fly zone over northern Iraq, along with British and Turkish forces.

Defense officials here said the United States wants to be supportive of coalition partners involved in this operation. Although the Defense Department sees no immediate threat to Turkey, they said, Cohen approved a Turkish government request for the Patriots in light of heightened tensions with Iraq.

In the past few weeks, Iraqi forces have repeatedly challenged coalition air forces patrolling the no-fly zones over both northern and southern Iraq. Pentagon officials said they believe the Iraqis maintained some Scuds following the Gulf War. Some Scud models have ranges exceeding 600 miles.

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