Judging by open sources, this is the first combat defeat in the history of the use of the American air defense system, which in the West is considered one of the air defense and defense systems the most advanced and announced anti-missiles.
The only similar incident occurred in March 2003 in Iraq, but then it was the result of a crossbow: a US Air Force F-16 fighter hit an anti-radar missile at a radar module MIM- 104 Patriot, who mistakenly flew as an escort. “RG” collected everything that is currently known about the duel between the Russian “Dagger” and the American air defense system.
Damaged or destroyed?
CNN, quoting an unnamed US official, said the MIM-104 Patriot was “probably damaged but not destroyed in a Russian missile attack on targets in and around Kiev on Tuesday.” The United States is “assessing the extent of the damage, after which it will be clear if the system needs to be removed or if the APU can repair it on site.”
Let’s make a reservation that the MIM-104 Patriot battery consists of many components (radar station, 4-8 missile launchers, control center, communications complex, power supply and auxiliary vehicles), which, as a rule, are placed separately . Therefore, the difference between damage and destruction is rather arbitrary – with a single hit it is most likely the defeat and deactivation of one or more elements, and not the entire battery.
A second CNN source believes that it is likely that one of the components of the complex was affected. Perhaps we are talking about a radar which, due to its strong radiation and stationarity, is potentially a vulnerable target. Another version is the defeat of the launchers, which, judging by the alleged videos of Kyiv on social networks, had already fired almost the entire charge of ammunition. As the TV channel notes, “significant damage to one or more components may require Ukraine to remove the system from combat service and take it out of the country for complex repairs.”
A similar leak was published by Reuters, citing two unnamed US officials. According to them, the American air defense system in Kyiv “probably suffered damage, but it was not destroyed.” Sources said that Washington and Kiev are currently discussing “the best way to fix the system” and so far, most likely, “it won’t be necessary to take it out of Ukrainian territory.” Full clarity on this is expected in the coming days.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby declined to officially confirm the defeat of the MIM-104 Patriot in Kiev, but said the United States was “ready to help” Ukraine with repairs if necessary.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that “a high-precision strike from the Kinzhal hypersonic missile system in the city of Kiev hit” the American-made MIM-104 Patriot air defense system.
Despite confirmation from Western sources, Kyiv did not comment on the loss of the American air defense system, while claiming that six “Daggers” were shot down by this system that night. “Each time with their declarations, they bring down as many ‘daggers’ as we have not thrown,” commented Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. He added that the Armed Forces of Ukraine “all the time make mistakes with the type of missiles, and therefore they don’t hit.”
Stolen for a hundred million: how did the Ukrainian armed forces try to repel the blow of the “dagger”?
According to CNN, two MIM-104 Patriot batteries have been handed over to Ukraine so far: one from the United States, the second from Germany and the Netherlands. To operate them, Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers were trained in the West for about 10 weeks.
These complexes were put into operation in 1982 and since then have been modernized several times, so they exist in different versions. It has not been officially reported which of them was delivered to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Earlier, the Politico newspaper reported that it was a modification, sharpened to intercept ballistic missiles. A possible confirmation of this is yesterday’s photos on social media, allegedly taken in Kyiv: they show a fallen PAC-3 missile after launch. This version of the “Patriots” has 16 missiles per launcher, unlike the larger PAC-2 with four missiles.
The PAC-3 version is designed to hit missiles with a direct hit (in the PAC-2 version, the target is hit by a cloud of fragments using a proximity fuse). The PAC-3 missile is approximately 5.2 meters long and weighs approximately 320 kg, capable of reaching speeds of up to Mach 4 and hitting targets at ranges of up to 30 km and at altitudes of up to up to 24km. The cost of such a rocket is about 3-4 million dollars.
The Telegraph points to a video allegedly filming an attempt by US air defense systems in Kiev to repel an attack, which shows the launch of two to three dozen anti-missiles in two minutes. In total, this volley cost up to 100 million dollars, but could not save the MIM-104 Patriot, whose battery cost is more than 1 billion dollars.
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