The Ukrainian Air Force reported that a MIM-104 Patriot, provided to Ukraine, successfully brought down five Russian aircraft in a short span of 300 seconds [five minutes]. This substantial achievement was announced by their spokesman, Yuriy Ignat, in a conversation with the local newspaper, Novynarnia.
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Expressing his satisfaction with the operation, Ignat lauded the commendable strategic decision-making that led to this outcome. He credited the Air Force Commander’s unconventional and decisive tactics for making it possible for the Patriot air defense units to eliminate five crafts heading towards Bryansk all within five minutes. He elaborated, “These aircraft were originally destined to bombard our northern territories with guided aerial bombs.”
The victorious operation occurred on the 13th of May, 2023. Due to security considerations, a video exhibit of the Patriot carrying out its duties was showcased to a significant portion of the Ukrainian military on July 3rd, during the Ukrainian Air Defense Force anniversary celebration. Ignat added with an air of certainty, “This day [May 13 – ed.], we ensured at least one Su-34, one Su-35, two uniquely rare REB Mi-8MTPR-1 helicopters, and another Mi-8 were removed from the enemy’s arsenal.”
Patriot vs. Su-35 over the Black Sea
Ignat described another incident involving the US-manufactured Patriot system dueling with a Su-35. This took place shortly after the May 13 offensive, near Bryansk.
In the subsequent days, a separate event unfolded in Odessa. Yet another Su-35 met its end over the Black Sea. This incident took place after the confrontation near Bryansk. According to Ignat, flights halted in that area for a period because of its recognized hazardous nature. He states, “They ceased flying there for a while, recognizing the inherent danger and potential for being shot down.”
BulgarianMilitary.com reported back in April about the deployment of Patriot systems, or at least one such system, in Ukraine. At the time, we confirmed that the initial crews trained in American Patriot air defense system usage had started their combat duty. The two systems, imported from the USA and Germany/Netherlands, landed in Ukraine in mid-April.
Shortly after the announcement, the news created quite a stir on social media, particularly on Twitter. Seizing the momentum, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense revealed a video featuring the inaugural operators of the Patriot system. During a question and answer session, the operators expressed their aspiration of downing a Russian Su-35 as their first mission. But, we have no verified information as to whether this battery was responsible for bringing down the Su-35, or if it was indeed their first target. Still, from all indications, it appears that their comrades may have fulfilled their request if they didn’t.
The Patriot paves the way
Currently, there is undeniable evidence to suggest that the capital city of Kyiv is under the protection of the Patriot air defense system among others. This protection was previously acknowledged but has recently been reconfirmed by Yuri Ignat in an interview. When questioned about the presence of Patriot systems in other cities, Ignat verified their existence but did not mention specific locations.
Ignat further indulged in some far-reaching predictions. He announced that the emerging divisions and the personnel currently serving will be pivotal to the formation of future divisions. By this, Ignat seemed to imply not just the current wartime scenario, but also the period that follows after the war concludes. In simple terms, it seems highly probable that Ukraine will establish a Western-style air defense system, incorporating Western-sourced anti-aircraft missile systems, with the Patriot occupying a significant role.
“We can confidently say that the Patriot will still be with us”, Ignat asserts. As he explains, “Our personnel are currently receiving training in Germany on how to operate these systems that will eventually be handed over to us. The Patriot, predominantly recognized as an anti-ballistic missile, is a highly sophisticated piece of technology. It’s important to note that a ballistic missile can only be guaranteed to be shot down by a direct hit. And, remarkably, all of this happens without human intervention.”
The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile system developed by the United States. It is designed to intercept and destroy incoming enemy missiles and aircraft, providing air defense for military forces and critical infrastructure.
In terms of technical characteristics, the Patriot system consists of a radar set, a control station, and multiple launchers. The radar set is responsible for detecting and tracking targets, while the control station processes the radar data and guides the missiles toward the targets. The launchers, which can be mobile or stationary, are used to launch the Patriot missiles.
The Patriot system utilizes different types of rockets or missiles depending on the threat it is designed to counter. The most commonly used missile is the Patriot Advanced Capability [PAC]-3 missile, which is highly maneuverable and designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and aircraft. Additionally, the Patriot system can also employ the PAC-2 missile, which is effective against ballistic missiles and aircraft.
In terms of operational range, the Patriot system can engage targets at various distances depending on the specific missile variant and target characteristics. The PAC-3 missile, for example, has an operational range of up to 35 kilometers [22 miles] and can engage targets at altitudes of up to 24 kilometers [80,000 feet]. The PAC-2 missile, on the other hand, has a longer operational range of up to 160 kilometers [100 miles] and can engage targets at altitudes of up to 24 kilometers [80,000 feet].
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