The decision has not yet been made, but the idea is clearly being advanced in the United States. The MIMI-104 is considered one of the best long-range anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems in the world. Thus, a delivery of a few launchers will significantly increase the anti-aircraft and anti-missile capabilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Towards a delivery?
This information is very recent as it is notably relayed by the Associated Press, which cites three anonymous official sources, as well as by the Reuters, as of December 13. Concretely, the decision would not have been formally taken yet but the option is now clearly advanced: two Pentagon sources have confirmed that some systems present in the US Army's overseas stocks would potentially be delivered to the Ukrainian armed forces. A third source also confirmed the timeline: if the decision is positive, it will probably be announced during the course of this week.
Some PAC-3 Patriot to Ukraine ?
As the confirmation is not official, little information is available about these long-range anti-aircraft systems stored abroad. However, the IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies) announces that in 2021, the US Army included a total of 480 M902 or M903 Patriot launchers with PAC-3 or PAC-3 MSE standards and no more launchers with PAC-2 (or PAC-2 improved) standards. As the PAC-3 MSE version is one of the last versions of the Patriot, the eventual delivery would therefore concern launchers with PAC-3 standards.
As a reminder, the Patriot PAC-3 entered service in 2001 and uses hit-to-kill highly maneuverable missiles, allowing for better performance against cruise missiles, aircraft or even tactical ballistic missiles. Unlike the PAC-2, the PAC-3 allows the launcher to carry 16 missiles (4 for the PAC-2). Generally speaking, the MIM-104F (PAC-3) is an improved version of the MIM-104C (PAC-2) and improved versions (PAC-2/GEM and PAC-2GEM+). However, if it was indeed the PAC-2, it will certainly be slightly older, but we must not forget the very important role of the American MIM-104C PAC-2 Patriot batteries during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the early 1990s. They played a decisive role in protecting not only ground troops but also strategic areas against Iraqi Scud missiles.
In order to avoid further assumptions, this article stops here. In case a delivery of Patriot will be officially announced, another article with the specific information about the system given to the Ukrainians will be published.
Découvrez cet article sur Air&Cosmos