Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Ukrainian soldiers will receive Patriot system training in Oklahoma

Ukrainian troops to train on Patriot system in Oklahoma

 WASHINGTON: Beginning next week, approximately 100 Ukrainian troops will travel to Oklahoma's Fort Sill to begin training on the Patriot missile defense system, bringing Kyiv one step closer to obtaining the long-awaited defense against Russian missile attacks.

Due to its ability to target aircraft, cruise missiles, and shorter-range ballistic missiles, the Patriot surface-to-air guided missile defense system has been requested by Ukraine for months. During his visit to the United States in late December, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that the battery would significantly enhance Kyiv's defenses against an invasion by Russia.

According to Pentagon spokesman Air Force Gen. Pat Ryder on Tuesday, the number of Ukrainians arriving at Fort Sill is roughly equivalent to the number required to operate one battery. They will concentrate on learning how to operate and maintain the Patriot.

Although Ukraine has sent forces for short-term training at European bases for other complex systems it has received, such as the longer-range High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, Kyiv's decision to take troops off the battlefield to train across the Atlantic in the United States is unusual.

Typically, patriot training takes several months, but Ryder stated that because "the longer those troops are off the line, they're not actually engaged in combat," the training will be shorter.

Ryder stated that Fort Sill was chosen because it already operates Patriot training schools.

In December, as part of one of several large packages of military assistance that it has given Ukraine in recent weeks, the United States pledged one Patriot battery. Germany offered an additional Patriot battery this past week.

A truck-mounted launching system with eight launchers that can each hold up to four missile interceptors, a ground radar, a control station, and a generator make up each Patriot battery. According to the Army, there are currently 16 Patriot battalions.

As Ukraine faces an evolving barrage of missiles and drones from Russia against its civilian population and infrastructure in the nearly 11-month-old conflict, the Patriot batteries will complement a variety of air defense systems pledged by the United States and NATO partners. Germany has pledged four IRIS-T air defense systems in recent months; Eight mid-range National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS, and Avenger air defense systems have also been pledged by the United States.

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