Today the President of the United States made the strategic decision to send the coveted US Army Patriot Air & Missile Defense capability to Ukraine. Strategically, the President is sending a clear resound message to the world and Russian President Putin that the United States is fully committed to the people of Ukraine and their Defense against Russian Long Distance Fires.
“Today’s assistance for the first time includes the Patriot Air Defense System, capable of bringing down cruise missiles, short range ballistic missiles, and aircraft at a significantly higher ceiling than previously provided air defense systems”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken White House, December 21, 2022
The Patriot system is unequivocally the most deployed, combat proven and combat ready air and missile defense system that the United States has in its inventory of programs of record. There are currently, in the US Army inventory, 15 Patriot Battalions assigned to combatant commands around the world, and a 16th Battalion approved for future growth. These 15 Battalions, coupled with a number of components which if combined appropriately can make up another additional 1 – 2 Patriot Battalions. Deployed around the world providing defensive fires in support of combat operations in CENTCOM, and forward assigned to combatant commands INDO-PACOM and EUCOM. The Patriot missile defense system is the most demanded combat air & missile defense system in the Department of Defense’s inventory. On top of the challenging high dwell times for the soldiers, there remains a tremendous lack of capacity of Patriot deployed forward – there is only 1 U.S. Patriot battalion currently assigned in Europe today which is inadequate for defending the numerous airbases, command and control locations, maneuver forces, billion dollar depots and other-directed critical assets.
The Patriot Battery going to Ukraine will most likely come from the US Army ADA school located at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, that has a training set of older Patriot equipment used to train future Patriot operators which requires 9 months for the ADA Soldiers to be certified. The Ukrainians will be trained to operate the Patriot system in Europe and will most likely be a condensed rapid certification process. The Ukraine operators still will require stringent education as deconfliction of air space and friendly fire must be 100 percent addressed for 100 percent success in their mission. The Patriot Battery going to Ukraine will most likely consist of one 120 degree Patriot Radar and 6 to 10 launchers with close to 100 interceptors.
The Patriot weapon system is the most lethal lower tier capability in the army inventory, is a much more sophisticated system of radars, launchers, power generation, and command & control trucks, compared to other lower tier defense systems. The Patriot possesses much greater range than Stingers, NASAMS, and C-RAM.
The cost of the U.S. Patriot interceptors run anywhere from $1 million to $4 million, according to their sophistication and specific mission and each launcher can fire between 4 and 16 interceptors. The demand for Patriot interceptors across the COCOMS is extremely high. Possessing a capacity and variety of interceptors allows the Patriot system to engage targets with the proper interceptor against the right target. Additionally, the PAC-3 MSE interceptor allows for the Patriot system to engage targets at a further range, allowing time for a 2nd, 3rd, and possibly even 4th shot as required against one or more targets.
We must recognize our own history in America, and we must honor the Patriotism of the Ukrainian people who courageously fight for their Freedom and Liberty from aggression and oppression. As we witness an historic meeting today with President Biden and President Zelensky, let’s honor our collective strength and commitment to our principled core values. Let’s take collective action and deliver Freedom and Liberty from Patriot to Patriot.