The United States announced on Wednesday that it would supply Ukraine the cutting-edge Patriot air defence system to help fend off Moscow’s persistent aircraft assaults.

The system is a part of $1.85 billion in aid that was unveiled concurrently with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s travel to Washington, D.C., which is his first tour outside of the nation since Russia invaded in February.

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The declaration is a major win for Kyiv, which has pushed Washington for the Patriot system on numerous occasions, and a clear indication of US support for Ukraine, which will assist strengthen the nation’s defences.

What is Patriot Advance Air Defence System?

The American Army and about a dozen American allies use Patriot arrays all over the world. Newer versions, which were originally created as anti-aircraft systems, are mostly utilised to intercept ballistic missiles.

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According to officials, the US will deliver just one Patriot battery to Ukraine.

A Patriot battery’s strike range varies from 20 to 100 miles, depending on the missiles fired and the target. This range is far too short to cover the entirety of Ukraine, which is about 800 miles from east to west and more than 500 miles from north to south.

The Patriot system relies on a powerful radar to locate incoming threats, including cruise and ballistic missiles, and launches long-range missiles to intercept them. It was first employed in battle during the Gulf War to destroy Iraqi Scud missiles. It usually needs a crew of three troops to operate and is deployed on the back of a vehicle, so continuous backup is required to keep it operational.

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A typical Patriot battery is manned by roughly 90 American soldiers. Depending on the ammo, Patriot-launched missiles have an operational range of up to 100 miles and can reach heights of up to 79,000 feet.

About $1 billion is spent on a single battery, and several million dollars is spent on each missile. The Raytheon-produced systems, which are currently used in around 16 nations, are in high demand and in short supply. The battery that will be sent to Ukraine most likely comes from equipment that is currently deployed in Europe.

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Although the United States and its allies, including France and Germany, have recently supplied a number of missile defence systems to Ukraine, the Patriot system will be the most sophisticated one shared since the war started.