US Patriot SAM joins the war, to fight Russian fighter jets

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is preparing a plan to send the Patriot air and missile defense system to Ukraine. That could be announced as early as this week, according to two US officials and a senior administration official. This is reported by CNN, citing its sources.

Patriot destroyed missile using target designation provided by F-35
Photo by US Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Debbie Lockhart

If this actually happens, the Patriot air defense system will be the most powerful air and missile defense system ever deployed to Ukraine.

The Pentagon plan still needs to be approved by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin before being sent to President Joe Biden for his signature. Three officials told CNN the document is currently awaiting approval.

The number of missile launchers planned for delivery to Ukraine is currently unknown, but a typical Patriot air defense battery includes a radar that detects and tracks targets, a mobile generator, a command post, and up to eight launchers, each containing four ready-for-firing rockets.

After all the details are agreed upon, the Patriot air defense system is expected to be sent in the coming days, and the Ukrainian units of the anti-aircraft complex will be trained at the German US Army base in Grafenwehr, officials said.

THAAD successfully fired Patriot's PAC-3 MSE missile using AN/TPY-2
Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

Unlike smaller air defense systems, Patriot missile batteries require much larger crews: dozens of people are needed to properly operate these weapons. Patriot missile batteries typically take several months to prepare.

The system is considered effective protection of the airspace from ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as from combat aircraft. Thanks to its range and altitude, the Patriot could potentially shoot down Russian missiles and aircraft far from their targets in Ukraine.

MIM-104 Patriot SAM system

The MIM-104 Patriot SAM is the flagship of the US Air Defense. This system is one of the most exported from the United States in the world. Currently, 18 countries operate with Patriot, using various modifications and versions. He has been documented in several conflicts: the Gulf War, the Iraq War, the Syrian Civil War, and the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

It was designed in 1969 by Raytheon, Hughes, and RCA. It is currently manufactured by Raytheon. One of the most common variants of the MIM-104 Patriot SAM is the PAC-2 version or better known as the MIM-104C [PAC-2].

Netherlands buys 96 GEM ballistic missiles for its Patriots
Photo credit: Raytheon

This version of Patriot is actually an upgrade of the older version of PAC-1. This version of the air defense system has optimized radar search algorithms and is the first system in the Patriot family to use the MIM-104C or PAC-2 missile. These missiles are designed to withstand ballistic missiles. The PAC-2 missile has a changed size of the warhead and adjusted response time of the Doppler radar fuse.

The main difference between the MIM-104C [PAC-2] and the MIM-104D [PAC-2 / GEM] is again in the missile. The MIM-104D [PAC-2 / GEM] already operates improved missiles, better known as guidance enhanced missiles [GEM]. I.e the new missiles are significantly faster, a new low-noise search engine, and have higher performance. The basic idea is that GEM can detect targets with very low infrared signatures or low radar cross-sections.


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