Specs and capabilities of U.S. PATRIOT air defense systems provided to Ukraine

10 March, 04:35 PM
The USA will supply Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine (Photo:ukraine_map/Twitter)

The USA will supply Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine (Photo:ukraine_map/Twitter)

Updated: Reports that PATRIOTs are already in Ukraine have been denied by the Polish Ministry of Defense and the Ukrainian Air Force.

The U.S. had promised to provide Ukraine with PATRIOT anti-missile defense batteries. Washington officially announced their transfer before Ukrainian President Zelenskyy’s visit to the U.S. in December 2022.

NV explains the features of the PATRIOT system and the timeline of negotiations to supply it to Ukraine.

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The MIM-104 PATRIOT (Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target) air defense complex was introduced into service with the U.S. Army in the early 1980s. Its latest modification, called PAC-3, is designed to engage and intercept targets at altitudes of up to 24 km. The main feature of the latest PATRIOT modification is its ability to shoot down ballistic missiles (including Iskanders, which Russia uses to attack Ukraine), as well as Kinzhals (Russian hypersonic air-launched missiles) and Zircons (a Russian hypersonic anti-ship missile).

The PATRIOT uses advanced interceptor missiles and highly effective radar systems. The main functions of the system are four:

●     connection,

●     command and control

●     radar surveillance

●     missile guidance

The installations are highly mobile, and a single battery can be deployed in less than an hour. Its system components are moved on trucks or trailers.

One Patriot PAC-3 launcher is designed for 4 MIM-104 missiles of various types, including GEM-T missiles (with advanced guidance systems) or 16 ERINT missiles (extended-range interceptors). At the same time, a single PATRIOT battery can contain up to 8 launchers.

The average effective range of a PATRIOT launcher is 150 km. The air defense system can track targets moving at speeds of up to 2,200 m/s at a distance of up to 180 km.

Other important characteristics of the PATRIOT air defense system include:

●      target interception range — up to 80 km;

●     target interception altitude — up to 24 km;

Back in December 2021, before Russia’s full-scale invasion, CNN reported that Ukraine had asked the U.S. to provide PATRIOT complexes.

However, even after Russia’s massive attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure in the fall of 2022, the question of obtaining the Patriot was still being debated. In particular, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg insisted that there needed to be guarantees that the systems already delivered to Ukraine were effective and functioning, because they require ammunition and spare parts.

On Dec. 13, U.S state-funded news outlet Voice of America reported that the Pentagon had confirmed plans to send these systems to Ukraine. In response, the press secretary for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, said that PATRIOT complexes would “definitely” be targeted by Russian forces.

On Dec. 21, the White House officially announced the transfer of PATRIOTs to Ukraine. The weapons would arrive in a new military aid package.

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