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Will Russia Attack Ukraine’s New American Patriot Missiles?

Patriot Missile
Patriot Missile. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin.

The White House is prepared to announce an additional $1.8 billion military aid package to Ukraine, which will, for the first time, include a Patriot missile battery and precision-guided bombs for use from Ukrainian fighter jets.

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News of the pending package comes as the Biden administration was readying for a visit from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – the first time the leader has traveled out of the country since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion in February.

The package, expected to be officially announced later on Wednesday, will include the air-defense system that could help Ukraine defend against the onslaught of Russian missile and drone attacks.

Since October, as its forces were pushed back on the battlefield, Russia has conducted a steady series of aerial attacks on Ukraine’s population centers and critical infrastructure.

The attacks have often left millions without electricity or running water.

Those actions have been condemned by many Western governments.

Patriot Missiles Coming

According to a report from The New York Times, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has agreed to send Patriot battery that is already overseas to Ukraine. The MIM-104 Patriot would be one of the most sophisticated weapons that Washington has provided to Kyiv.

It is capable of countering Russia’s ballistic missiles, unlike other air-defense systems supplied by the West, while it can also strike targets at a much further distance. U.S. officials have also said it could help secure the airspace and thus protect NATO nations in Eastern Europe.

The Patriot system was developed in the 1970s to counter Soviet missiles. It uses an advanced aerial interceptor missile and high-performance radar systems.

The MIM-104 gained prestige during the Persian Gulf War of 1991 with the claimed engagement of more than 40 Iraqi Scud missiles.

The air-defense system is now employed by the armed forces of several NATO members including the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Greece, and Spain; as well as with the militaries of Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Taiwan, and Qatar.

The Patriot is expected to remain in operation until at least 2040.

Kremlin: Fair Game on Patriot Missiles

Even before this deal was officially announced, Russian officials had fired back that it would view the missile-defense system as a legitimate target if it is supplied to Ukraine.

As previously reported, Russia signaled that it would not intend to cease its missile strikes even in the face of such superior weaponry.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters last week that any Patriot batteries would absolutely be fair game for a strike.

“Certainly,” Peskov responded when asked whether the Kremlin shared the point of view expressed by Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council that these systems would become legitimate targets.

“I would refrain from comment for now, though, because these are just media reports. Nowadays, media reports are an unreliable thing. Let us wait for some official information,” Peskov added.

It would seem that now Russia will get its chance to target the Patriot, but a betting man would go all in on the American-made platform over the Kremlin’s aging missiles and Iranian-produced drones.


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Author Experience and Expertise: A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Serhio

    December 21, 2022 at 11:27 am

    Why is there a question mark in the title of the article? Someone with a sober mind doubts this?

    Patriot coplexes were originally developed to combat completely different targets (ballistic missiles or bombers) than those that are supposed to be shot down in Ukraine (cruise guided missiles and maneuvering drones).
    The American Patriot complexes in Saudi Arabia missed dozens of Houthi (and in fact Iranian, which are the refinement of ancient Soviet missiles) drones and cruise missiles that attacked the facilities of the Saudi Aramco oil company. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo justified Patriot’s failure by saying that “sometimes air defense systems around the world show contradictory results.” In turn, experts note that the shortcomings of American systems have been known for a long time, but US allies are still forced to adopt them. Patriots are not designed at all against low-speed drones and will not be able to do anything. Using a rocket worth millions of dollars to shoot down a drone for $20,000 is like hammering nails with a microscope. A drone is a target for an anti-aircraft machine gun.

    I predict the results of the use of Patriots in Ukraine: The Russians will launch a batch of cheap training missiles that are used in exercises. The Patriots will work on these goals and shoot them all down. But before the Patriots have time to recharge, real missiles will go and hit the right objects. The Secretary of State will speak again and say that “sometimes air defense systems around the world show contradictory results.” It will be a terrible advertisement for the Patriots. It will be a terrible waste of rockets for the Patriots. It would be a terrible waste of American taxpayers’ money. 2023 will be a wonderful year for lobbyists of arms companies.

  2. aldol11

    December 21, 2022 at 11:29 am

    pathetic and hollow as most of the Russian threats

  3. Jacksonian Libertarian

    December 21, 2022 at 3:02 pm

    Patriot missiles are expensive, and the system requires trained operators. It might just be bait drawing aggro to concentrate Russian attacks for smaller, cheaper, air defense systems to destroy.

  4. Rick

    December 21, 2022 at 3:04 pm

    Russia’s ability is so degraded that they shoot down their own fighters and missiles go up and come back like a boomerang. The wanna be superpower is a paper tiger.

  5. froike

    December 21, 2022 at 6:03 pm

    Firstly…One Patriot System, no matter how effective, is insufficient to defend Ukraine. Ukraine would need at least Twenty. Secondly, as others stated so correctly, it would be ridiculously wasteful to use Patriots against drones.
    Ukraine should opt for cheaper and numerous small Anti Air Systems.
    I would think that Land Based Phalanx Systems would prove very effective when used in conjunction with The French, Spanish, British,
    and German AA Systems already in use.

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