* United States Patriot missile batteries - a main defense against Iraqi Scuds in the Gulf war - arrived in Kuwait on Jan. 19 for deployment, senior government officials said.

The anti-missile weapons were sent at the request of the Kuwaiti government, which also asked Britain and France for troops under their 10-year defense cooperation agreements, said Information Minister Sheikh Saud al-Sabah.

Senior US Air Force officials said the missiles would be operational soon, but their location would remain secret until they were ready to be fired. The process can be completed in hours.

The Patriots were deployed during the Gulf war to defend against Iraqi Scud missiles fired at Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had false Scud alerts Jan. 18. Western diplomats said the French and British were unhappy with the decision to invoke the defense pact when no real threat was perceived.

Senior officials said Kuwait had been reluctant to call more foreign troops onto its soil with 2,000 American troops already here."We asked for troops because we need to protect our country," Sheikh Saud said.

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