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The Swiss Patriot air defence system

With Patriot, extended medium-range ground-based air defence is able, both independently and in combination with combat aircraft, to protect areas while primarily combating targets in the middle and upper airspace. The target categories include cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, aircraft and guided missiles. At the same time, Patriot makes a major contribution to the recognised air picture.

Markus Graf, program manager Bodluv GR, competence sector Aeronautical Systems

Extended medium-range ground-based air defence systems: Patriot
Patriot from Raytheon USA
© Raytheon USA


Extended medium-range ground-based air defence systems consist of a coordination level and one or more fire units. The coordination level is designated as Tactical Operation Center Coordination (TOC-C) and has the following tasks:

  • Within its area of responsibility, the TOC-C performs efficient and effective combat against air threats with its subordinate and assigned ground-based and airborne air defence effectors.
  • By using all available air information within its area of responsibility, the TOC-C creates the local air picture for ground-based air defence.
  • The TOC-C acts on site as a coordination element between the ground-based air defence and the air defence operations centre as well as to the neighbouring airborne and ground-based formations.

A fire unit primarily consists of the following elements:

  • An engagement control station which is designated as Tactical Operation Center Execution (TOC-E).
  • A multifunctional sensor with corresponding power supply.
  • One or more launchers, each carrying four guided missiles.

The extended medium-range (German: Grössere Reichweite = GR) fire unit has the following tasks:

  • The GR fire unit combats air threats autonomously or at the command of the superior echelon.
  • The GR fire unit obtains information from the airspace by means of electronic reconnaissance equipment. In addition to own use, this information is made available to the TOC-C.
    Further elements for communication, supplies, repair and maintenance are also included at both levels.

DDPS requirements

Four Patriot fire units are required to cover the area of 15,000 km2 stipulated by the DDPS. Defence of these 15,000 km2 can be ensured in at least two separate areas to be covered. The distribution of the fire units over the two areas to be covered is based on the situation.

An additional fire unit with one of each major end items (TOC-C, TOC-E, multifunctional radar, generator, launcher) will be procured as a logistical reserve.  

Illustration of fire units 1-4
Four Patriot fire units are required to cover the area of 15,000 km2 stipulated by the DDPS.


The evaluated configuration of the Patriot weapons system corresponds to the configuration used by the US Army today. As regards the guided missiles, Switzerland has decided on the type GEM-T from Raytheon, based on the analysis of capabilities and the intended field of application. Patriot equipment will be delivered mounted on a European-certified mobility solution, hence the corresponding specifications for homologation for road service in Switzerland will be complied with. A defined path of development exists for Patriot, which ensures that the system will still be prepared for new threats in the coming decades.