Despite continued aerial bombardment from Russian forces, Defense Secretary Air Force Brigadier General Patrick Ryder announced Tuesday that Ukrainian troops would begin training at Fort Sill in Oklahoma on the Patriot Air Defense System as soon as next week.
Over many months, Ryder told reporters, around 90 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers would be trained to operate, maintain, and sustain the defensive system.
The Patriot, once deployed, “will continue to contribute to Ukraine’s air defense capabilities and give another capacity to Ukrainian people to protect against Russia’s continued aerial assaults,” Ryder said.
Ryder said that the Patriot would help bolster Ukraine’s air defenses as part of a more significant commitment by the United States and the international community to equip Ukraine with the air defense capabilities it needs to protect its people and its military.
It’s up to them to use it, but he stated, “it will enable them to knock down… ballistic missiles, opposing aircraft.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claims his country needs the Patriot air defense system to fight off Russian threats. The Biden administration has now announced it will pay an additional $1.85 billion in military aid to Ukraine.
According to a story from The Hill, Zelenskyy stated that U.S. aid will be used to purchase weapons “crucial” to help Ukraine fight Russia and that they would be “the turning point to prevail on the battlefield.”
According to Reuters, Raytheon Technologies Corp’s Patriot is a state-of-the-art U.S. air defense system capable of providing theater-wide surface-to-air missile defense. Patriot is an abbreviation for Phased Array Tracking Radar for Intercept on Target.
The system was initially intended to shoot down airplanes and missiles. Still, Reuters reports that it might also destroy the “kamikaze” drones Russian forces have been using to damage Ukrainian infrastructure.
According to Raytheon, Patriot systems have shot down more than 150 missiles in battle since 2015.
Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the system obsolete and said Russia would “bring down” the Patriots.
Raytheon has produced approximately 240 systems, which have been deployed in 18 countries. Each plan includes a radar, control center, power generator, launch stations, and support vehicles.
The military initially utilized the Patriot in 1991 when it was deployed to guard Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Israel during the Gulf War. In 2003, officials in Iraq used it once again.
Since Ukraine’s conflict with Russia began on February 24, 2022, U.S. authorities say their country has provided more than $24.2 billion in security aid.