On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced that the United States would train Ukrainian personnel at a base in the state of Oklahoma to use and defend the advanced Patriot air defense system Washington is providing to Kyiv.
Washington promised a Patriot battery to Ukraine at the end of last year to support counter Moscow’s relentless aerial invasions, a notable victory for Kyiv, which had constantly pushed the United States for the system.
Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder told journalists reports, “Training for Ukrainian forces on the Patriot air defense system will begin as soon as next week at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.”
“The training will prepare approximately 90 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers to operate, maintain and sustain the defensive system over a training course expected to last several months,” Ryder said.
“Once fielded, the Patriot will… contribute to Ukraine’s air defense capabilities and provide another capability to Ukrainian people to defend themselves against Russia’s ongoing aerial assaults,” he added.
Air defenses have played a key role in protecting Ukraine from strikes and preventing Moscow’s forces from attaining control of the skies. But as Russia faced increasing setbacks on the ground, it began systematically targeting critical infrastructure in Ukraine in invasions that have disrupted electricity, water, and heat to millions of people. Made by Raytheon, the MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system initially developed to preclude high-flying aircraft.
It was changed in the 1980s to concentrate on the new threat of tactical ballistic missiles and was first used in a war against Iraq’s Russian-made Scuds in the first Gulf War. Patriots have been proven helpful in Saudi Arabia against Iranian-designed ballistic missiles fired from Yemen. Direct contractor Raytheon says the system has precluded more than 150 ballistic missiles in combat since 2015. Ukraine’s international contributors aim to build multi-layer air defenses consisting of low, medium- and high-altitude systems that can protect against threats.
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