TechUkraine intercepts 15 'invincible' Russian hypersonic missiles using Patriot systems

Ukraine intercepts 15 'invincible' Russian hypersonic missiles using Patriot systems

Launching a missile from the Patriot system
Launching a missile from the Patriot system
Images source: © Wikimedia Commons | BOHYUN PYUN

6:26 AM EST, January 1, 2024, updated: 4:33 AM EST, January 2, 2024

"The Patriot system can intercept ballistic missiles like the Kinzhals," says Ignat, as quoted by American Newsweek. He also recalls that the first 'invincible' missile was intercepted in early May of this year, as previously described by Putin.

During this time, the defense forces began keeping count of every intercepted Kinzhal missile. "We intercepted six more after the first one, then six more after that. To date, we've shot down 15 Kinzhals with the Patriot system, a promising development for us," confirms Ignat.

While the successful interceptions satisfy Ukrainians, the military still emphasizes the need for more weapons of this type to keep up with Russia. Further arming Ukraine is particularly vital considering an expert's evaluation that the Russian Federation has enough reserves to wage war for another 2-3 years.

The enigma of Putin's "elusive weapon"

First showcased during the 2018 Victory Parade, the Ch-47 Kinzhal missiles still possess numerous secrets. The Russians boast of these missiles reaching speeds up to 10 Mach, more than 7,457 miles/h. Based on this speed, a rocket from the Kaliningrad region could reach Warsaw in about 2 minutes. However, this claim is yet to be confirmed.

The Ch-47s are likely capable of making evasive maneuvers at every stage of their flight, which significantly complicates their interception by most air defense systems. Their high speed is a significant challenge, as it reduces the time window for an interception decision. As demonstrated in Ukraine, however, intercepting a Kinzhal is not an impossible task.

As Ignat attests, the Patriot systems have shown their capability to intercept missiles that Russians claim to be immune to interception. The speed of a rocket from a Patriot can reach over 5 Mach (more than 3,728 miles/h), which is just one component of this complex air defense system.

Beyond this, the system includes the AN/MPQ-53 phased array radar and a computer. The former can track up to 125 objects simultaneously (and target nine) and can detect targets in the air at a range of about 62 miles. The Patriot system works incredibly quickly and accurately and can simultaneously analyze multiple potential threats - therefore, it remains a crucial part of the Ukrainian anti-missile shield.

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