Silicone Rubber Heaters Help Launch Patriot Missiles


The Patriot missile, which gained fame for its success during the war in the Persian Gulf, must be protected from frost and moisture in order to function properly. When the missile was first built, a subcontractor for the U.S. government recognized this problem.


This subcontractor approached Watlow for ideas on how to prevent malfunction due to weather conditions.

Watlow recommended its silicone rubber heaters because they are lightweight, resistant to harsh conditions, such as freezing temperatures and moisture, and can be made in virtually any shape or size required. The subcontractor asked Watlow to build the heaters in 15-foot (4.6 m) long strips, to be mounted on the launch rails. Later, the customer requested Watlow to provide not only heaters, but also the sub-assemblies. This involved bonding the heaters to the metal launching rails.

As the war gained momentum, Watlow increased production of the heaters substantially. After the war ended, a branch of the U.S. Defense Department recognized Watlow for "an exceptional job" in providing quality products in a timely fashion.