U.S. troops are filing into Turkey to help the NATO ally with its new supply of advanced Patriot air-defense missiles. It's likely to be the first of many new markets for the interceptors.
The U.S. military confirmed Friday that U.S. troops have started to arrive at Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey to help the NATO ally operate the two Patriot interceptor batteries it requested to contain the spillover violence from the Syrian civil war. But those missiles are something of a stopgap. Like a number of countries, Turkey wants to step up its air-defense game more permanently.
The latest version of the Patriot, known as the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 or PAC-3, is one of the world's leading "hit-to-kill" interceptors, designed to target, impact and destroy ballistic missiles and enemy warplanes. Fears of rapidly proliferating missiles are driving demand for the system, which is music to the ears of its manufacturers. "There's a lot of interest around the globe in the PAC-3 missile for sure," says Cheryl Amerine, a spokeswoman for Patriot-maker Lockheed Martin.