Ukrainians will ‘shot down targets’ with Patriots at Fort Sill
WASHINGTON — The US Army Fort Sill post will host a hundred Ukrainian soldiers next week. They begin training to work with the Patriots. Washington has announced that it is sending one Patriot system to Ukraine. Berlin later chimed in with a new statement, announcing that Ukraine would receive another Patriot system from the German military’s inventory.
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The choice of Fort Sill is not accidental at all, although it will take more time to train the Ukrainians. Initially, it was assumed that Ukrainian soldiers would be trained in Europe, thus saving time on logistics.
Fort Sill is the home of the Patriot training program. One of the oldest military bases in the US dates back to the time of the Indian War. Fort Sill is located north of Lawton, Oklahoma, about 85 miles [136.8 km] southwest of Oklahoma City. It covers almost 94,000 acres [38,000 ha].
Gen. Pat Ryder was the first to break the news that next week Ukrainians in the US will be training to operate the Patriot air defense system. The general said that when the Patriot is deployed in Ukraine it will help increase the anti-aircraft capabilities of the Ukrainian defense.
According to sources, 100 Ukrainian soldiers are the number required to man the Patriot battery. The numbers are slightly inflated because they are supposed to be able to operate 24 hours a day, working with the Patriot in shifts.
According to the information, the Ukrainians who will leave for the USA are gunners who already have experience working with Western air defense systems or Western artillery systems used in the war. As for the experience with Western air defense systems, we recall that Ukraine received the German IRIS-T air defense systems, as well as the American-Norwegian NASAMS.
The Pentagon will cut the training of Ukrainian soldiers. The standard training time for a Patriot job according to the American standard is 24 months, but because of the war, that time is a luxury. The Pentagon announced that these are the first Ukrainians who will be trained to work with the Patriots. According to sources, they will most likely be trained on a rotational basis, but for now, there is no more information on the matter.
The presence of Ukrainian soldiers in the US is not a precedent. Some time ago, a dozen soldiers who were trained to work with the American Switchblade kamikaze drone were sworn in in the United States. This happened at the beginning of the war in 2022. Sometime in the middle of the year, Ukraine began to receive regular deliveries of the two main versions of the drone – Switchblade 300 and Switchblade 600, with the latter arriving much later.
Ukraine has currently sent 500 soldiers to train in Germany to operate other Western-standard weapons systems. The 100 expected to arrive for Patriot training is a separate group from those 500.
The 500 soldiers located for training in Ukraine are busy with combined maneuvers. It is training that combines military soldier maneuvers with weapons system maneuvers. This type of training is not new to the Ukrainian army. Similar exercises with the help of the US and allies have been held in Ukraine since 2014.
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