Everything You Wanted to Know About Patriot Missiles, Right Here

Patriot Missile Air Defense System
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The United States has agreed to give Ukraine the Patriot missile system, which was one of Kyiv’s most urgent requests. The goal is to stop a possible Russian air attack.

During a press conference on Wednesday, President Biden announced that the United States would provide the system as part of a $1.85 billion military aid package with training and other munitions, following 300 days of war and an onslaught of Russian missile and drone strikes that have increasingly targeted Ukrainian cities in recent months. Even though the Patriot air defense system isn’t a magic bullet, it could help stop Moscow’s plan to shut down Ukraine’s power grid and civilian infrastructure.

During Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s carefully staged visit to the United States—hhis first travel overseas since the conflict began—President Joe Biden made the declaration, stressing the need for U.S. military assistance.

At a press event with Zelensky, President Biden said, “It might take some time to get the right training, but the Patriot battery will be another important tool for Ukraine as it fights against Russian aggression.”

The president of Ukraine concurred, calling it “the greatest feature of this package,” before adding that his country has requested further systems. Zelensky has shown interest in recruiting more Patriots. We are at war, and for that I apologize sincerely.

Even if the Patriot battery’s attack range is only between 20 and 100 miles, analysts agree that it demonstrates a serious U.S. commitment.

According to Tom Karako, head of the Missile Defensive Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, “it’s a very important political statement as well as an increase in Ukraine’s defense capabilities.”

Here’s the lowdown on the anti-aircraft gun system:

The Patriot missile system is described.

An advanced surface-to-air guided missile system, the Patriot can intercept and destroy any aerial threat, providing defense for both people and militaries. The Army’s most sought-after air defense system, the Patriot, was first conceived in the 1960s to safeguard Europe from the Soviet Union and was first deployed in the 1980s. It is now commonly used across the globe.

There are eight launchers in a Patriot battery, and each one may store anything from four to sixteen missiles ready to fire on a truck-mounted launching mechanism. It also has radars, control stations, and power generators. Up to 90 troops can work it.

Most people will remember it for its prominent role in the 1991 Gulf War. A number of Iraqi Scud missiles aimed for Saudi Arabian cities were shot down by the American air defense system.

The Washington Post reported in 1991 from Saudi Arabia that “troops on the ground watched as Patriot missiles arced into the black sky and slammed into oncoming Scuds, which detonated in a spray of flaming wreckage.”

Since then, the system has been sent to protect against attacks from Iran, Somalia, and North Korea in the Pacific, the Middle East, and Europe.

At present, the Ukrainian air defense system is being deployed to counter Russian airstrikes that have knocked out electricity throughout the nation in the dead of winter.

Why is Ukraine’s missile system so crucial?

Karako claims that the addition of the Patriot system will strengthen and increase the effectiveness of Ukraine’s air defenses. But the system’s reach is limited, it needs to be trained, and it needs to be paired with other security measures.

The issue, Karako said, is that the Russians are firing so many missiles that their air defense interceptors are being used up.

Russia’s use of drones to attack Ukrainian territory has increased during the last month. Kyiv and other towns in Ukraine have been hit by Russian cruise missiles and Iranian-supplied drones, cutting off residents from essential services like heat, power, and water. Between 2 and 10 million people in Ukraine have been left in the dark and cold without access to energy.

Iran also wants to send Russia ballistic missiles that can help make up for its dwindling supply. It has also promised to sell Russia a lot more drones, going from hundreds to thousands.

Other U.S.-provided tools have been used to protect Ukrainian airspace. Long-range rocket artillery systems and sophisticated electronic technology that transforms conventional aerial bombs into precision-guided “smart bombs” were among the weapons sent in previous assistance packages.

As the bombardment of Russian strikes depletes the supply of air defense interceptors, leaving millions of Ukrainians without electricity, the battery—wwhich the Biden administration had opposed delivering earlier—mmight be extremely crucial. Officials from Russia have expressed concern that using the air defense system would be seen as an escalation and “entail serious repercussions.”

When will Ukrainians be able to utilize them after being trained?

A senior U.S. military official told reporters on Wednesday that training Ukrainian soldiers to operate the Patriot system would take months, while the Pentagon is looking at methods to shorten certain portions of the training. Assigning ninety U.S. servicemen to one Patriot battery is standard procedure.

Approximately six months of training time is estimated to be necessary under ideal circumstances. The military officer said, “This is a complicated system to manage and maintain.”

Can we get a read on Russia’s response to the U.S. supplying Ukraine with missiles?

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said during a news conference on December 15 that sending the long-range air defense system to Ukraine will only serve to further inflame tensions. Zakharova made it clear that Russia plans to destroy or take any weapons from the West that Ukraine gets.

Karako said that there is no need to worry about an escalation of hostilities due to the use of Patriot systems. But he said that this might make the Kremlin rethink some of the things it does with planes.

The fact that the system’s detractors dislike it, in Karako’s opinion, demonstrates its effectiveness.

What effects does the missile deployment have on U.S. forces and missions?

U.S. troops that operate Patriot systems are among the most frequently deployed Army units. The United States maintains around 15 Patriot battalions, several of which are stationed in Europe and the Middle East. At a facility in Germany, American soldiers will also be tasked with instructing Ukrainian forces on how to operate and maintain the system.

Karako said that the United States has to be selective about where it sends its Patriot systems and its trainers because of the great demand they get from all around the world.

Karako said, “We have to discourage assaults in a variety of locations.” It is safe to assume that any Patriot battery deployed to Ukraine will remain there indefinitely.

 

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