Official confirmation will probably come soon, but it is almost certain that Ukraine will receive American Patriot missile systems, and this is a very important milestone. Recall that we are talking about advanced air defense systems that are located in key areas of Europe and the Middle East, and the United States has long hesitated whether to send them to Ukraine, but in the end it seems that Kiev will get what has been expected for months .
The Croatian newspaper Advance writes it, quoted by pik.bg. In a political sense, the Patriot systems are further confirmation that the United States is willing to invest more and more in Ukrainian defense, but in a practical sense, the question is whether the Patriot will really bring about an important turning point in the war.
Patriot surface-to-air missile systems have been in service since the 1980s and can target cruise missiles, aircraft and short-range ballistic missiles.
A number of countries have Patriot missile systems, including Germany, Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Taiwan, Greece, South Korea, Qatar and others.
However, when using the Patriot system, its cost must be considered. An interceptor missile costs about 4 million US dollars, and it is not at all profitable to use these systems to destroy some smaller targets, such as the Iranian drones that Russian forces have relied heavily on lately (although they still publicly deny this).
Also, while the Patriot system is very effective and has been perfected over the years, it’s not very easy to use. A battery of these requires up to 90 soldiers to maintain and equip them.
At the same time, the question arises
who will manage the Patriot systems when they arrive in Ukraine?
It is obvious that the Biden administration will not, at least not publicly, send its soldiers to the territory of Ukraine, because this can already be interpreted as the beginning of a Russian-American war. Are the Ukrainian forces trained? Probably, but the presence of the Patriot system in Ukraine has a certain political weight and significance. This confirms that the United States is ready to step forward to ensure the defense of its ally. It remains to be seen how the Patriot systems will “behave” in the field when they arrive and become operational.
There are also some concerns that these systems could exacerbate the situation. Like? Missiles launched by the Patriot system can land on Russian territory. Does this mean that Patriot systems can also be used as offensive weapons? Of course, if we interpret an offensive situation as a plane being shot down in foreign airspace. Ukraine can always say it has an argument for it, but if it invokes new American weapons, matters quickly become more complicated.
It is not known whether the Ukrainian military has already been trained to use Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems or if their training is only in the plans. The United States does not want to publicly reveal how long such training has been going on, but the Ukrainian military is already trained to use sophisticated weapon systems such as Hymars.
The question is, what will the Patriot complexes actually protect in Ukraine? Due to their specificity, they are extremely effective for protecting, for example, a military base, but they can hardly be effective for protecting a large city, especially the size of Kiev.
Compared to the Soviet S-300,
used by Ukrainian forces, Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems have more powerful radars, but also have some drawbacks.
There are experts who are skeptical of their effectiveness. For example, in Saudi Arabia, Patriot systems have performed poorly in defense against Yemeni Houthi missiles. Since 2015, Patriot systems have been hit by ballistic missiles more than 150 times, admitted Raytheon, the US manufacturer of these anti-aircraft missile systems.
It seems that the “patriots” in Ukraine will be more a symbol of American loyalty to Kyiv than a real difference. Of course, it all depends on how many of these anti-aircraft missile systems the United States will send to Ukraine. It is clear that Kiev needs as many, as many as possible, but it also needs very well trained military personnel.
On the other hand, if this conflict drags on for years, sending the Patriot to Ukraine could be preparation for a long-term buildup of Ukrainian forces. Naturally, once these SAMs appear in Ukraine, the priority for Russian forces will be to destroy them. Also, they will try to find out some details about them. Americans will not be at all happy with the prospect of such a “close” study, but, by all accounts, the decision has already been made.