Operation Desert Storm:

Data Does Not Exist to Conclusively Say How Well Patriot Performed

NSIAD-92-340: Published: Sep 22, 1992. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) available information on the Patriot missile engagements that the Army is confident resulted in the destruction or disabling of Scud missiles during Operation Desert Storm; and (2) whether the Army's revised assessment of the Patriot's performance in these engagements was supported by data.

GAO found that: (1) the Patriot computers collected target information that can not irrefutably prove that the Patriot destroyed or failed to destroy Scud warheads; (2) since all ground damage assessments were not equally comprehensive, the absence of identified ground damage could be a misleading indicator of a warhead kill; (3) strong evidence exists for about 9 percent of the engagements that the Army believes resulted in warhead kills, including a ground damage report that a Scud had been recovered with Patriot fragments or fragment holes and radar tracking evidence that the Scud experienced a dramatic slowdown and that debris was present after a Patriot intercept; and (4) lesser evidence exists for 16 percent of engagements, includomg computer-generated data to support the Army's determination that a Scud was detected, engaged, and intercepted and ground damage reports that showed no ground damage relating to these engagements.

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