Hunting for Patriots in Kyiv. How Kinzhals could damage the launchers — opinion

22 May, 03:15 PM
Patriot system (Photo:NATO/Flickr)

Patriot system (Photo:NATO/Flickr)

The information about damage to the Patriot defensive missile system may be accurate.

It is necessary to understand what a Patriot complex, division, battery — whatever you call it — and launching installation is.

The Patriot complex consists of a locator (the most important), a control unit, and up to eight (sometimes four or six) launchers. Each launcher has four missiles. That is, the maximum number of rockets in the complex is 32. But they are all scattered over a large area. The radar system is separate since anti-radar missiles can find it. The combat control machine stands separately. The distance between them can be kilometers, or even tens of kilometers. A communication system links them. The launching installations can also be great distances from each other. Depending on the task, the launchers can be located a kilometer away from each other. Therefore, the destruction of the Patriot complex by Kinzhals is practically impossible. It would take at least ten of them — to the radar, the combat control machine, and eight more to each launcher. Well, it's simply impossible. In addition, the various parts are constantly being relocated. And it is practically impossible to calculate according to the law of random numbers.

Video of day

Here's what could actually happen and how the launch system could have been damaged:

The Kinzhal and the Patriot missiles collide and further disintegrate

I can understand statements about the launch system being damaged. What is Kinzhal? It's a rocket launched from an airplane then travels about 40 kilometers, accelerating to hypersonic speed. But, it's not hypersonic nearer to the ground at the end of its strike, where the air density is 760 mmHg (pressure). When the missile is closer to its target, on the lower part of the ballistic trajectory, it falls vertically onto the target. If the target, let's say the dome of the Verkhovna Rada, and the Kinzhal begins to fall vertically onto it. This half-ton warhead plus several hundred kilograms of the missile itself — that is, the weight of up to a ton — drops to its target. But a launch pad is located nearby to protect the parliament, let's say within a radius of several kilometers. The Patriot control system calculates the point of intersection and sends an anti-missile from the launcher at an angle of 40 degrees. It unfolds, rises, and goes to meet the missile. At the intersection point, it hits the front hemisphere. The Kinzhal and the Patriot missiles collide and further disintegrate, then about a ton of iron falls within a radius of several hundred meters. This includes metal, explosive material (if it didn't explode), and rocket fuel.

These fragments can damage the launch system or anything else in the area. It's unlikely to be the radar system — it stands aside. It's not the control — it's also concealed. But the launch system is different. The closer the launch system is to the protected object, the higher the chance of getting hit by shrapnel. The optimal solution for where to place the launch system (if VRU is covered) — is right in its yard, maybe a little to the side. But fragments can still fall on it. Therefore, information about the damage may correspond to reality. But not from a direct hit, only the debris. And we saw all the rockets falling on Kyiv — cars and other things were damaged. It's the debris that falls at such high speeds. But I emphasize — the Kinzhal is not traveling at hypersonic speed when entering denser layers of the atmosphere. That is where the anti-missile catches it, again, in the front hemisphere.

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