According to two U.S. sources and a senior administration official, the Biden administration is putting the last touches on its plans to transfer the Patriot missile defence system to Ukraine, which could be disclosed as soon as this week.
Before being forwarded to President Joe Biden for his approval, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin must still approve the Pentagon’s plan. The three officials told CNN that they anticipate approval.
As it endures a barrage of Russian missile and drone attacks that have destroyed crucial infrastructure all over the country, Ukraine has been pleading with the United States to send the cutting-edge long-range air defence system that is highly effective at intercepting ballistic and cruise missiles. According to officials, it will assist safeguard airspace for NATO nations in eastern Europe and would be the most effective long-range defensive missile system supplied to the country.
It is unknown how many missile launchers will be deployed, but a typical Patriot battery consists of up to eight launchers, each of which can hold four ready-to-fire missiles, along with computers, power-generating apparatus, an engagement control station, and a radar set for detecting and tracking targets.
The Patriots are anticipated to ship fast after the blueprints are completed in the upcoming days, and Ukrainians will be taught to use them at a U.S. Army installation in Grafenwoehr, Germany, according to authorities.
The technology has been requested by Ukraine for months, but delivering and running it will be extremely difficult logistically. Despite these challenges, “the reality of what is unfolding on the ground”—in this case, the ongoing intensive Russian missile barrages—led the administration to make the choice.
BREAKING: US finally sending Ukraine the Patriot missile defense system, the gold standard for surface-to-air defense. This will help Ukraine defend against Russian missile and drone attacks.
Another potential game-changer in Ukraine's fight against the Russian invasion. 🇺🇸🇺🇦
— Tristan Snell (@TristanSnell) December 13, 2022
Patriot missile batteries need far larger crews than smaller air defence systems; they need dozens of people to operate them properly. Under the pressure of nearly daily aerial attacks from Russia, the United States will soon complete the training for Patriot missile batteries, a procedure that typically takes several months.
It is widely acknowledged that the system is one of the most effective long-range weapons for protecting airspace from incoming ballistic and cruise missiles as well as some types of aircraft. It has the potential to fire down Russian missiles and planes that are far from their intended targets inside Ukraine thanks to its long-range and high-altitude capabilities.
In the past, the United States has provided Patriot batteries to NATO partners like Poland to help boost their defences and other weaponry to Ukraine to help stave off the Russian incursion.
In recent years, the United States has delivered Patriot missiles to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and the Pacific region to discourage North Korea and counter threats from Iran and its allies.
In recent months, the United States has delivered Ukraine mid-range defensive National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated last month that the US is “extremely keen” on giving Ukraine air defence systems.
“We’re now very focused on air defense systems and not just us, many other countries,” Blinken told Christiane Amanpour.
“And we’re working to make sure that the Ukrainians get those systems as quickly as possible but also as effectively as possible, making sure that they are trained on them, making sure they have the ability to maintain them and all of that has to come together and it is. We have a very deliberate process established by the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Ramstein, Germany, that meets regularly to make sure that the Ukrainians are getting what they need, when they need it.”