The live ammunition testing of the first Patriot missile system of the Romanian Army, Patriot Spark 2023, was close to a grave incident. One of the three missiles in the Capu Midia range missed the launch. Romanian Defence Ministry officials cited “a minor technical issue”, but the same sources admitted it was something that affected the control unit.
On Wednesday, November 15, the Romanian Army tested the Patriot missile system with live ammunition. It was supposed to be the perfect moment to show the world that the Patriot was the missile system to be used, but the exercise was very close to a disaster.
The 74th PATRIOT Regiment was to launch three PAC-2 ATM missiles at simulated aerial targets by MQM 178 Firejet and ULTRA 20 drones. But one of the three missiles missed the launch. The politicians in the stands were informed on the spot, and they ran away to avoid any explosion that could’ve occurred.
The problem with missile number 3 will be fixed; it is a minor technical problem with the control element.Colonel Virgil Toșa, 74th PATRIOT Regiment, Romanian Army
The Romanian Army representatives tried to minimize the incident, but all labelled it “minor.” Yet, specialists say that anything can happen when military missiles fail to launch. This is why the politicians were hastily evacuated.
Romania ordered seven Patriot missile systems from the US Government in 2017, produced by the American company Raytheon. The value of the purchase was estimated at 3.9 billion dollars, excluding VAT.