Its missiles exceed Mach 4 and can shoot down aircraft and cruise missiles.

MIM-104 Patriot: Ukraine is to receive the best US air defense system

Faced with the failure of its invasion plans and the successful Ukrainian counter-offensive, Russia is attempting to sow terror in Ukraine with cruise missiles.

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These missile attacks target civilian residential areas and energy infrastructure, in order to leave the Ukrainian population without electricity or heat in the dead of winter and force their surrender. In recent months,the military aid received by Ukraine from allied countries has included surface-to-air missiles of various types: from the Soviet S-300 donated by Slovakia to the S-125 donated by Poland, going through the IRIS-T (Germany), Aspide and MIM-23 Hawk (Spain), Crotale (France), Stormer HVM (United Kingdom), 9K35 Strela (Czech Republic) and NASAMS and AN/TWQ-1 Avenger (United States).

Until now, Ukraine was missing the jewel in the crown: the MIM-104 Patriot, the best surface-to-air missile system the United States currently has, and which is also operated by other allied countries such as Germany, Spain, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania and Sweden. This is a long-range air defense system capable of shooting down cruise missiles.

CNN announced today that the United States is finalizing plans to ship the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine, a shipment that could be announced this week. At the moment, the plan still needs to be approved by the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, before sending it to President Joe Biden for his signature, but it is very likely that it will be approved.

"It would be the most effective long-range defensive weapons system sent to the country and officials say it will help secure airspace for NATO nations in eastern Europe", CNN reported, adding that a typical Patriot battery includes a radar, a combat control station and up to eight launchers, each with four missiles ready to fire.

Once the plan to send these missiles is approved, Ukrainian soldiers would be trained by the US to handle the Patriots at the Grafenwoehr maneuver field in Germany. Until now, the US has resisted sending them of these missiles to Ukraine due to the difficulty involved in training the Ukrainian military in handling them and the logistical challenges involved in shipping them, but the incessant Russian missile attacks against the Ukrainian population have led the US to give up End that step, which could provide Ukraine with decisive protection against the Russian air offensive. In March, following the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, The US had already sent two batteries of Patriot missiles to Poland, in anticipation of possible attacks against that NATO member country.

The Patriot has been in service since 1981 and in total there are almost 1,300 operational launchers, of which the vast majority (just over 1,100) are in the hands of the United States, more have been produced to date of 10,000 missiles. Both the radars and the launchers are mounted on four-axle Oshkosh M983 HEMTT trucks. The most recent versions of the Patriot missile (the PAC-2 and PAC-3) exceed a speed of Mach 4, that is, 4,770 km/h, and have AN/MPQ-65 radars, capable of to detect stealth aircraft and small objects, being very resistant to radar interference.


Photos: US Army.

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