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Will Patriot missiles delivered to Ukraine help or change the dynamic?

I'm no expert, but I will forward along the info I've read. Patriot Missiles are not easy to operate and require months of training. Even then, most folks have a rough time using them with success. Our own troops were initially ineffective in the first Gulf War. Then trying to tie these into the Ukraine's existing air missile defense system, which works on an entirely different architecture is going to be a mess.

Sounds like this isn't going to move the dial, but might create some PR optics? Ukraine remains in deep deep trouble.

A Patriot Missile Defense for Ukraine, At Last?

Kyiv may finally get a better way to protect against Russia’s assault on cities.

By The Editorial Board, WSJ

Dec. 15, 2022 6:37 pm ET

The Biden Administration appears poised to offer Ukraine a Patriot missile system to defend against Vladimir Putin’s indiscriminate attacks. This is great news, though the belated delivery underscores the strange White House habit of hemming and hawing over weapons it eventually delivers after more harm is done.

Pentagon officials are leaking that approval for a Patriot system for Ukraine could arrive this week. Mr. Putin has been raining missiles and drones on civilian electric plants and other infrastructure, and he is indifferent to whether Ukrainians freeze or starve this winter.

The Ukrainians are also waiting for six more National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) on order, but Kyiv needs more firepower now. The Patriot can shoot down targets with precision from afar, and it can defend against ballistic missiles like those Russia has reportedly acquired from Iran. Ukraine will inevitably need more than one to cover all the terrain Mr. Putin is terrorizing.

So why is the U.S. only now seriously pondering the Patriot, nearly 10 months into the war? Defense officials said in March there was “no discussion about putting a Patriot battery in Ukraine,” because “you’d have to put U.S. troops with it to operate it.” But the truth was the U.S. could train the Ukrainians on the system in Western Europe.

Ukrainians have quickly put High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (Himars) to good use, and by now they could be managing a Patriot. Training late and hastily for such an urgent need as air defense is riskier than having done the right thing in the first place. Getting the system into Ukraine quickly now may require creativity in condensing training and setting up maintenance pit crews on NATO territory.

The battery could be transferred from U.S. stocks or come from an ally. America has too few to meet increasing needs for missile defense around the world. Patriot units are especially worn out by what Army leaders have called “the 2019 air defense surge,” including threats from Iran in the Middle East.

The good news is lawmakers have included an additional $700 million for two Patriot fire units in the national defense authorization for 2023, as well as more money to expand the industrial base. One section of the bill asks the Army to revisit its Patriot inventory and needs.

Some Republicans may grouse that Taiwan deserves Patriot priority, but the U.S. doesn’t have the luxury of defending its interests in only one part of the world. The Patriot shortage underscores how derelict Washington has been in preparing for an increasingly dangerous world.

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