US found a foreign Patriot air defense system to be sent to Ukraine

Romania has made the pivotal decision to transfer one of its four Patriot anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems to Ukraine. This announcement comes hot on the heels of a Financial Times report revealing plans to redirect supplies of Patriot systems and missiles initially intended for export to Ukraine. 

Canadian aid: $56M allocated to bolster Ukrainian air defense
Photo by Sean Gallup

Romania’s four Patriot batteries, configured in the US standard [PAC-3+], include PAC-2 GEM-T and the recently operational PAC-3 MSE missiles. The country initially ordered these batteries in 2017 without expecting any compensation. Initially, Romania sought approval to purchase seven batteries to phase out its older Kub and Volkhov systems. 

The Romanian Ministry of Defense highlights that this decision hinges on allies adequately compensating for the transferred capabilities. However, the specifics of such compensation remain unclear. Recently, Germany donated a third Patriot battery to Ukraine, while the Netherlands offered components like radar and launchers, and Italy provided the SAMP/T system.

Italy is considering donating a SAMP/T SAM system to Ukraine
Pkote credit: Twitter

Earlier in May

When discussions arose about bolstering Ukraine’s air defenses, the spotlight turned to Romania, a neighboring nation equipped with American-made Patriot systems. This intriguing development was highlighted by local journalists in May during Romanian President Klaus Iohannis’ visit to the White House. 

During his official trip to the United States, President Klaus Iohannis confirmed the possibility of deploying one of Romania’s own Patriot systems in Ukraine. Of the three systems currently operational in Romania, the one in active use will not be the one sent eastward to support Ukraine. 

Ukraine wants to produce the US interceptor used in downing Su-35 - Patriot anti-aircraft system
Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

Romania has acquired seven Patriot air defense systems, with four already received and the remaining three still under discussion. This acquisition, costing an impressive $4 billion, marks the most significant defense investment in Romania’s history. It’s important to note that Romania’s operational Patriot systems come equipped with advanced hardware and software. These systems have been tested in combat and are capable of countering a wide range of modern airborne threats.


One of the main differences between the PAC-3+ and earlier Patriot systems, like the PAC-2 and PAC-3, is the improved Missile Segment Enhancement [MSE] interceptor. This interceptor has a bigger motor and better guidance, giving it more range, speed, and agility. This makes it more effective against advanced threats, including maneuvering ballistic missiles. 

Polish SAM didn't catch a Russian Kh-type missile entering Poland - Patriot SAM
Photo credit: Janek Skarzynski/AFP

The PAC-3+ system also has better radar technology. It uses the AN/MPQ-65 radar, which is more advanced than the older AN/MPQ-53 radar in earlier versions. Another upgrade in the PAC-3+ is its command and control system. It is now more robust and flexible. This system can work with other air and missile defense systems, creating a more coordinated defense network. This ability to integrate is crucial for modern military operations where different systems need to work together smoothly. 

In short, the Patriot PAC-3+ air defense system is a big improvement over earlier versions. Its better interceptors, advanced radar, and improved command and control make it a strong tool in the US military’s defense strategy. These upgrades help the PAC-3+ effectively counter modern threats, protecting both military and civilian targets.


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