Gravity being gravity, "somewhere" is actually a place pretty much under the point where the Patriot hit it.
Well, no, actually -- the bits will fall in an arc, not straight down.
I agree, however, that for a ballistic missle this is an unacceptable approach, and if the Patriot had been designed as an ABM I would be very disappointed in it. The fact is that it was designed as an SAM, and for a SAM this performance is very good.
Remember that when aircraft become ballistic objects it's a Very Bad Thing, especially from the POV of the pilot. SCUDs on final, OTOH, are already ballistic, and therefore can only be bumped a little off what passes for target, maybe into the suburbs instead of downtown, maybe not even that. Hell, maybe the reverse.
The scary thing to me is not that the Patriot performed badly in a role for which it was never intended, but that the US had nothing better for the task. The choice was not "Patriot or System B", it was "Patriot or we just stand around and watch the damned things fall". Which would you have done? How would you have answered the inevitable question, "Why didn't you even try?"
[ Parent ]