As a sought-after defence against incoming missiles, Patriot missile systems have long been a popular purchase for the US and its allies in hotly contested regions of the world. They take precautions against possible attacks from Iran, Somalia, and North Korea in Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific.
The US’s decision to deliver a Patriot missile battery to Ukraine, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had requested for months to strengthen his nation’s air defences, was therefore a crucial turning point. The agreement has been confirmed by US officials, and an official statement is forthcoming. However, analysts warn that the device may not be a major changer in the conflict because of its limited effectiveness.
The Patriot is a surface-to-air guided missile system that can hit aeroplanes, cruise missiles, and shorter-range ballistic missiles. It was initially used in the 1980s.
A ground radar, a control centre, a generator, and an eight-launcher truck-mounted launching system with a capacity for four missile interceptors apiece make up each Patriot battery. There are presently 16 Patriot battalions, according to the Army. These battalions control 50 batteries with more than 1,200 missile interceptors, according to a 2018 assessment from the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
The American batteries are frequently sent out into the world. Additionally, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Taiwan, Greece, Spain, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Romania, Sweden, Poland, and Bahrain operate or are in the process of purchasing Patriots.
The Patriot system and its missiles have seen constant improvement over time. According to CSIS’s July missile defence assessment, the Patriot system’s current interceptor missile costs roughly $4 million per round, while the launchers cost nearly $10 million each. At that expense, utilising the Patriot to shoot down the significantly smaller and less expensive Iranian drones that Russia has been acquiring and employing in Ukraine is neither cost-effective nor optimum.
The Patriot is effective against some Russian threats that Ukraine faces but is less effective against others.
The Patriot system will be effective against short-range ballistic missiles and sends a clear message of U.S. support, according to a former senior military officer with knowledge of it, but one battery won’t be able to turn the tide of the conflict.
The official highlighted that one Patriot battery has a long shooting range but can only cover a small, broad region because the Ukraine contract has not yet been made public. For instance, Patriots can successfully defend a tiny military outpost but fall short in protecting a sizable city like Kiev. They were only able to offer coverage for a portion of the city.
Patriots are frequently sent out in battalions, each of which has four batteries. Ukraine, which officials stated would receive one battery, won’t experience this.
If Russian President Vladimir Putin followed through on his repeated threats to use a tactical nuclear bomb, Kyiv may conceivably be protected thanks to the Patriot’s capacity to target select ballistic missiles and aircraft. However, as stated that would depend on how the weapon was discharged. The system could target the warplane if it was a gravity bomb; if it was a cruise or short-to-medium-range ballistic missile, it might also be able to intercept the missile.
Source: Indian Express