Patriot in Ukraine is a Russian checkmate in an already-ended game

PANAGYURISHTE ($1=1.84 Bulgarian Levs) — $1.84 billion Patriot air defense system to be supplied by the US to Ukraine. After the delivery of IRIS-T and NASAMS, Patriot is another modern anti-missile system that Kyiv will have at its disposal. Undoubtedly, there is a challenge ahead for the US and Ukraine, as the system will have to be integrated into the Soviet air defenses of Ukraine.

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

The Patriot will not arrive in Ukraine immediately. In the coming months, the system will be delivered and integrated. Some experts suggest that the Patriot will be operationally ready to perform its duties in the summer.

At the same time, news of the delivery of the Patriot provoked Russian President Vladimir Putin to call it obsolete. The Russian army will find an “antidote” and destroy it, the Russian commander-in-chief also said.

Petriot is not a panacea

What war is being fought in Ukraine? Russia attacks and bombards and Ukraine defend itself and carry out a counteroffensive in the temporarily occupied areas of the country.

Russia uses cheap missiles and kamikaze drones. Even now that the Patriot has not arrived in Ukraine, Kyiv is experiencing a shortage of ammunition, especially for its Soviet air defense system. I have nowhere to supply the missiles anymore. It is logical for Patriot to be located in the Kyiv region or, as a last resort, at an extremely important infrastructural place or object for Ukraine.

Alleged Patriot interceptions of cheap missiles and kamikaze drones will not turn the war in Ukraine’s favor. The Russian Air Force no longer flies in the Kyiv area. The Russians have learned their lesson and are currently sending a pair of air fighters to strike beyond visual range.

The Expensive Patriot vs. cheap missiles

Russia has already hit key infrastructure sites. Ukraine’s defense industry earlier in the war and energy infrastructure have already been hit, much of it destroyed. Their recovery is taking a long time, the resources for it are lacking, and Russia may strike again when the Ukrainians try to rebuild.

Russia upgrades the 3M-54 Kalibr missile for better combat use
Photo: YouTube

However, Russia is also beginning to experience a shortage of cruise missiles. But, unlike Ukraine, Russia has a functioning defense industry. The question is – will Ukraine fire its last $3-4 million Patriot missile against a $20,000 flying kamikaze drone or a $100,000 Russian cruise missile?

We are currently witnessing the second round of missile strikes. It appears that Russia is ready and has the resources to launch a third round of strikes. I.e. Patriot has no way to justify its profitability or effectiveness in Ukraine. It’s one system.

Patriot has already failed several times

Three of these failed to intercept ISIS rockets when shelling the Green Zone in Baghdad. Twice the missiles exploded near the American embassy, and only the lack of navigation in the missile saved the diplomatic mission.

US Marines landed in Baghdad; Israel puts army on alert; U.S. citizens to depart Iraq immediately
Photo credit: Murtadha Sudani – Anadolu Agency

The Yemeni Houthis have at least three proven successful missile and drone attacks against the Patriot, against both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 50% penetration is not too bad for a technology claiming to build an air defense umbrella anywhere.

The Patriot was not designed to fight with cruise missiles and drones, but that is exactly the kind of war being fought in Ukraine. The Patriot is designed to counter ballistic missiles and enemy fighter jets. But they are missing, they have not been used by the Russian armed forces for at least four months now.

Staff training time

Of course, the Patriot is a system with a high life cycle cost. Operated by a crew of at least 80. Features phased array radar, volume computers, launcher, and fire control system. We mention all this to move on to the next problem – staff training time.

This time varies between 13 and 53 weeks depending on the soldier’s position in the air defense battery. Of course, if the Patriot is expected to arrive in February, that could mean that right now, at this point, Ukrainian soldiers are being trained somewhere in the US to operate the system. This has actually been the practice since the beginning of the war, with the training of various weapons systems more often taking place in Poland and Germany.

Russian checkmate

Last but not least – what option the Patriots will get Ukraine. The most modern and up-to-date variant is the PAC-3, which is in service with the US, with the most advanced version being the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement [MSE], which has been in service since 2016.

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

PAC-3 can be called art among other Patriot versions. A highly maneuverable missile that is not only more accurate but also has its own radar for greater accuracy. I.e. the missile does not rely solely on the battery’s radar. A Patriot battery is built between 4 and 8 launchers.

Basically, the Patriot is a great US PR move to the world, and checkmate in several moves for Ukraine made by Russia – a long time to go live, low cost/benefit ratio, low numbers, and; away from the theaters [east and south] that are Russia’s main interest.

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