On Wednesday, with Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Washington, the United States announced the shipment of the Patriot anti-aircraft defense system to help counter air attacks on Moscow. It also announced a $1.85 billion military aid package.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement that this system “is capable of shooting down cruise missiles, short-range ballistic missiles and aircraft.”
The United States has already sent Patriot missiles to Saudi Arabia and Iraq to counter threats posed by Iran and its proxies and to the Pacific region to deter North Korea. The first time this system was used was during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1991, Operation Desert Storm.
The Patriot system, made by the US company Raytheon, is an expensive system that requires extensive training for those who need to operate it. And it is that the batteries of these missiles need much larger crews, which require dozens of people to operate them. No US or NATO forces can operate these systems inside Ukraine, so like other Western weapons, Ukrainian forces must be trained to use them.
The most capable system for defending airspace
It is a mobile air defense system utilizing guided missiles that simultaneously engage and destroy multiple targets under an environment of electronic countermeasures. This system is considered one of the most powerful long-range weapons for defending airspace against cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, as well as against some aircraft.
The capabilities of the system are to counter tactical ballistic missiles (TBM), cruise missiles (CM), target small section radar (LCSR) and modern aircraft.
Each Patriot launcher can fire up to four missiles at the same time. The most important part of this system is the radar which, together with the Pawn Control Station, coordinates the process of shooting down an enemy missile in just four minutes. It is able to identify a threat with a radius of up to 150 kilometers.
According to the US defense research group RAND, a single intercept test can cost up to $100 million.
In addition, within the package of military assistance that the United States will provide to Kyiv includes additional ammunition for Highly Mobility Missile Systems (HIMARS); 500 precision-guided 155 mm artillery shells; Mortar systems and 37 mine- and ambush-protected Cougar vehicles, among other items.
With the help reported on Wednesday, the 28th package since Aug. 202, there is already $21.9 billion earmarked for Ukraine by the administration of President Joe Biden, who will receive his Ukrainian counterpart at the White House on Wednesday.
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