Military expert says Ukrainian anti-aircraft gunners ‘rescued the reputation’ of Patriot system

21 May, 12:13 PM
American Patriot air defense systems (Photo:NATO/Flickr)

American Patriot air defense systems (Photo:NATO/Flickr)

Ukrainian anti-aircraft gunners have rescued the reputation of the U.S. Patriot air defense system by repelling attacks by Russian Kinzhal missiles, Defense Express expert Ivan Kyrychevskyi said during an interview with Radio NV on May 18.

He noted that before receiving the Patriot, it was expected that the system would be able to shoot down Iskander and Kh-22 missiles, but there was no mention of its ability to down more sophisticated missiles such as the Kinzhal and S-400.

Kyrychevskyi said that Saudi Arabia has 200 Patriot launchers, the appropriate infrastructure, and U.S. instructors to help them.

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"The story is that about once every two to three months, the Yemeni Houthis fire on Saudi Arabia with combined strikes using Shahed 136, rather primitive ballistic missiles, and very primitive copies of the Kh-55," he said.

“But Saudi Arabia, with its anti-aircraft gunners trained by American instructors, sometimes even failed to repel such attacks.”

According to Kyrychevskyi, this had caused the Patriot's reputation to plummet around the world. Russia even tried to sell the Abakan system to Saudi Arabia, claiming it could shoot down ballistic targets.

"It was literally Allah who saved Saudi Arabia from doing such a stupid thing and buying these missile systems from the Russians, and not completely ruining the reputation of the American Patriot," the expert said.

“The Americans thought for a long time, and they were in two minds: to give us the Patriot or not. It turns out that our anti-aircraft gunners, with a short training course, squeezed out of the Patriot literally something that the Americans themselves did not even realize.”

In the early hours of May 16, the Air Defense Forces shot down six Kinzhal missiles fired from six MiG-31K aircraft.

On May 6, Ukrainian Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk confirmed that Ukraine had shot down a Russian Kinzhal airborne ballistic missile for the first time near Kyiv in the early hours of May 4.

On May 13, AFU Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said that the Patriot was operating in autonomous mode when it shot down the Russian Kinzhal missile.

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