NewsUkraine's anti-air defense shakeup: Patriot missiles moved post-attack

Ukraine's anti-air defense shakeup: Patriot missiles moved post-attack

MIM-104 Patriot
MIM-104 Patriot
Images source: © PAP | Christophe Gateau

3:08 PM EST, November 27, 2023

The Bulgarian Military portal has observed, via satellite images, that MIM-104 Patriot missile systems have been removed from the Kiev-Zhuliany airport in Ukraine. Let's revisit the capabilities of this equipment for better context.

The plausible withdrawal of the air defense system, as per the sources, occurred on Saturday, November 25. This incident is significant because on the preceding night, Russian troops executed an unprecedentedly large kamikaze drone strike towards Kiev. An estimated 75 Shahed drones were reportedly dispatched, of which about 70 were successfully neutralized by the Ukrainian forces.

Bulgarian Military accentuates that Patriot launchers were deployed at the Kiev-Zhuliany airport in early November. But on November 25, following the Russian assault, they were conspicuously missing from their regular spots. Furthermore, a satellite image depicting the airport corroborates the effectiveness of Ukrainian anti-aircraft systems, as enemy units were prevented from reaching the airport.

Patriot Systems in Ukraine

In June this year, Raytheon, an American company, announced that Ukraine is slated to receive five more MIM-104 Patriot batteries by 2024. The first system was fully operational in Ukraine from April 2023.

The genesis of this weaponry can be traced back to the 1960s when Americans decided upon a successor to the MIM-23 Hawk. The MIM-104 Patriot system, established in 1984, was primarily designed to offer a broad striking range. This efficiency of the Patriots is attributable to the incorporation of the advanced AN/MPQ-53 radar, which operates at wavelengths of 0.14 to 0.3 in and a frequency of up to 8 GHz. As a result, the Patriot can detect targets up to 62 miles away, track as many as 125 airborne objects simultaneously and direct missiles towards nine units at once.

The M-901 missile, once launched, can attain a speed of up to 5 Mach and can engage virtually any maneuvering missile in the air. Patriots have on multiple occasions validated their utility, such as when they shot down a Kinzhal in May of this year. These components of the Ukrainian anti-missile shield also adeptly neutralize Iskander and Kalibr missiles, carrying warheads weighing 1587 lbs and 992 lbs, respectively.

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