Patriots to Ukraine – TTG

CNN  — The Biden Administration is finalizing plans to send the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine that could be announced as soon as this week, according to two US officials and a senior administration official. The Pentagon’s plan still needs to be approved by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin before it is sent to President Joe Biden for his signature. The three officials told CNN that approval is expected.

Ukraine has been calling for the US to send the advanced long-range air defense system that is highly effective at intercepting ballistic and cruise missiles as it comes under a barrage of Russian missile and drone attacks that have destroyed key infrastructure across the country. It would be the most effective long-range defensive weapons system sent to the country and officials say it will help secure airspace for NATO nations in eastern Europe.

It is not clear how many missile launchers will be sent but a typical Patriot battery includes a radar set that detects and tracks targets, computers, power generating equipment, an engagement control station and up to eight launchers, each holding four ready to fire missiles. Once the plans are finalized, the Patriots are expected to ship quickly in the coming days and Ukrainians will be trained to use them at a US Army base in Grafenwoehr, Germany, officials said.

Ukraine has been asking for the system for months but the logistical challenges of delivering it and operating it are immense. Despite those obstacles, “the reality of what is going on the ground” led the administration to make the decision, the senior administration official told CNN, noting the continuing intense Russian missile barrages.

Comment: I would think we’ve been training Ukrainians to operate the Patriot long before we let this information out to the public. There are several battalions already in Europe and it could have been going on in conjunction with training Polish operators. BTW, we’re sending two complete batteries to Poland.

Since we’re openly sharing real-time intelligence with Ukraine, there’s no reason not to network the Ukrainian Patriots with the Polish-based Patriots. For that matter they should be networked with the Aegis Ashore in Romania. I don’t know if the Polish one is operational yet.

This move does indicate something important. The Russian campaign to knock out the Ukrainian electrical grid is effective. Sure the Ukrainians are able to patch the system so far and the Russians are running low on cruise missiles, But there’s a serious question whether Ukraine’s restorative capability will out last Russia’s ability to hit the grid. Plus there’s the question of Iranian drones and possibly Iranian missiles. Unlike Surovkin’s Donetsk zerg rush tactics, his strategy of bombing Ukraine into darkness and cold may be working. That’s “the reality of what is going on the ground” that prompted this decision.


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39 Responses to Patriots to Ukraine – TTG

  1. drifter says:

    So we move up another rung on the escalation ladder. How will the Russians respond to this? I guess we’ll know in a few days.

  2. Mike B says:

    Using Patriots to stop outdated missiles and Iranian drones in Ukraine seems to be losing proposition.
    What level of punishment will convince Putin/Russia to backoff?

    • Bill Roche says:

      M.B. None. To Putin, Russia is an empire. Ukrainian independence confounds that and reduces Russia to a big but ordinary country. Therefore Ukrainian independence is simply not possible. This has been true for over 100 years and it was made certain in ’91 when Ukraine declared independence. 1991 was Ukraine’s 1775. Their war for independence took 31 years to begin but Russia started it in Feb. In September I remarked that the Russian ground game had failed and it would go to the air and bomb Ukraine into the dark ages. What would the west do? There were only two possibilities. Improved air defense and a “Jets to Ukraine” program. The first is underway. The jets will follow. BTW, it’s not the west that’s escalating. I remind fellow correspondents Russia invaded Ukraine and Russia has escalated into the air. Ukrainians have a choice. They can surrender to the Russians and again be their bitch but I don’t think they will.

    • d74 says:

      “Using Patriots to stop outdated missiles and Iranian drones in Ukraine seems to be losing proposition.” [proportion]

      Right here.
      The difference in price between the missile and the motorized flying scooter to be shot down is annoying.
      Still, those damn Russians should understand that low technology doesn’t stand a chance. These bunglers don’t play by the rules. And we’ll pay for it.

      Let’s hope some Patriots PAC III can get their teeth into one or more Russian tinfoil planes.

  3. jim ticehurst.. says:

    OK…Patriots now…Along with What we have Sent..Zalinsky is Asking For Germanys New Panzer I Looked at the Available Video..Its Very Hi Tech…
    and He Wanted The Israeli Iron Dome.too…..So Since We Dont Have All the Intel…
    like Known and unknown ICC Agencys Do…My Question On The Board Is…

    Any Scenario That Russia Can Blitzkrieg…And Over throw Ukraine and Capture
    And Possess All These Weapons.. What is Coming With the Major Artic Blast Forming in Russia…Are They waioting for The Stalingrad Moment they Have Been setting
    up for months now…With Low level troops..? I Dont Believe Russia is as Weak as
    as they want the EU/NATO to Believe…

    China has Gotten Away with Deep Shit for Years..I guess thats suppose to Only Be
    because We Let Them Do It…And Let Them Chop Suey the DOD too..

    • TTG says:

      jim ticehurst,

      Russia has had 9+ months to blitzkrieg Ukraine. Instead, they pissed away the flower of their forces and their reputation. They didn’t do that to lull NATO into believing they were weak. They are that weak, still dangerous but still weak relative to NATO. I doubt they have a winter blitzkrieg in them.

      • d74 says:

        “blitzkrieg “: sure?

        This seems to me an important point, we are not in the brain of the Russians, more precisely Putin.
        To believe that the enemy has the same system of thinking or apprehending things (tactical, strategic, political) as we do is a conceptual error.

        They tried once blitzkrieg in Kiev. It failed. Now, in view of the fighting in the Donbass, they have switched to an attrition tactic. Waiting for something else.

    • borko says:


      You may be giving the Russians too much credit. Just the other day they allowed Ukrainians to hit 2 of their airbases, deep inside Russia.

      If they can’t protect their startegic bomber airbases from 40+ year old Soviet drones then what would they have done in case of an attack by modern missiles or stealth bombers ?

      If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

      I understand why they see NATO expansion as a threat but by far, the main threat for Russian security are their own inefficiencies, corruption and often downright incompetence.

  4. Peter Williams says:

    The Russians have nothing to worry about if this article is true
    However it is written by David Axe so I tend to disregard it immediately.

    • TTG says:

      Peter Williams,

      The first version of the Patriot proved to be pretty much a dud when its performance in the 1st Gulf War was analyzed. The PAC-2 missile was better, but still not best suited for cruise missiles. The photo in the article you linked to is of the PAC-3 and not the PAC-2 that was fired in Saudi in 2018 at the time of that article. The PAC-2 is massive having only 4 per launcher. The PAC-3 has 16. The modern Patriot is vastly improved with the PAC-3 and target acquisition/tracking and guidance systems.

      • Leith says:

        Read somewhere that the PAC-3 was specifically designed and optimized against ballistic missiles. And it was assumed they would do poorly against fast low-flying cruise missiles.

        Better that Austin should send a mix of Patriot missile versions. Or maybe the cruise missiles can be handled by the Hawks, the Crotales, and the Flakpanzer Gepards that have been sent to Ukraine?

        • TTG says:


          Seems it’s normal to employ a mixture of PAC-2/PAC-3 missiles within a battery, even on the same launch vehicle. The NASAMS and IRIS-T are also part of that mix.

          • Leith says:

            That wide mix is going to be a tough for UKR logistics, and for operator training.

          • JamesT says:


            I think it is an open secret that those batteries are being operated by western contractors.

            I thought Patriot systems were for ballistic missiles and NASAMS were for cruise missiles – but providing Patriot in addition to NASAMS makes sense to me. Also – as an engineer I know that the best way to improve a system is to put it into production and see how it fares. No doubt a lot of information is being gathered for the manufacturers to improve the next versions of their systems.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        Can the Patriots be programmed to, say, go off course and travel 980 miles into another country? Because, say, let’s see .. versions 1,2 and 2.1 “are well known to have serious problems with ..” ?

        Or are those more likely the Oat Strip variants?

  5. borko says:

    Those Patriots will become a priority target immediately. How is Ukraine going to protect them ?

    They are already spread thin with their short/medium range AD.

    • TTG says:


      The HIMARS systems are also priority targets, have been for months. Russia hasn’t had much luck hitting them. The Patriots will be integrated into the rest of the growing Ukrainian A2/AD system.

      • Jimmy_W says:

        On the other hand from HIMARS, Patriot is a semi-active radar guided system, with the radar radiating the target. And radar displacement takes minutes, not seconds. Patriot is a lot easier to find than HIMARS.

        As point of evidence, Russia has slowly but surely attrited Ukrainian S300-series systems over time. The mode of operation is the same, and S300 radars are more mobile than Patriot ones.

      • borko says:


        As the name says, Himars is highly mobile and can shoot and scoot. Its mobility and low profile is its best defence.

        Not sure you can apply this to a Patriot system which is much bigger, more difficult to deploy and uses a radar that can be used to locate and attack it.

        • JamesT says:

          According to Wikipedia “the PAC-3 missile is a new interceptor, featuring a Ka band active radar seeker” so the seeker is active not semi-active.

          I will be much surprised if the Patriot battery can’t operate in a networked mode such that it’s radar can remain off and can rely on external sensors to tell it where to direct the missile such that the active seeker can pick it up when it gets close.

  6. Fourth and Long says:

    Off topic. This piece is making the rounds – some interesting details on personalities. With accompanying photographs of a handsome stable. Movie stars! Genre?

    The fall of the tower. Kremlin to replace cadres in charge of foreign policy

  7. JamesT says:

    From the beginning of the conflict Russia has been claiming that they were capturing US made equipment to reverse engineer it. A Patriot battery would be a pretty huge prize on that front. I am sure the Chinese would love to get in on that action.

    As for trading $3 million dollar PAC-3 missiles for $20 thousand dollar Shahed-136s … I think the big lesson from the war is smaller, cheaper, and preferably off-the-shelf is preferable to big, expensive, and over-engineered. Those DJI drones have really proven their value.

  8. Leith says:

    UKR will also be getting the French-Italian Sol-Air Moyenne-Portée/Terrestre AKA the SAMP/T. It uses Aster missiles, which were originally developed “to intercept and destroy the full spectrum of air threats from high-performance combat aircraft, UAVs and helicopters to cruise, anti-radiation and even sea-skimming supersonic anti-ship missiles. In addition, the Aster 30 Block 1 and Block 1 NT were designed to counter ballistic missiles.”

  9. Jimmy_W says:

    There are 2 problems with this Patriot transfer: inventory and contractors.

    The only spare Patriot sets are in Pre-Position stock. Army killed off a Guard Patriot battalion so that they could add a pre-po set in Korea. There might be 2 Guard battalions left, with of course lower readiness states than the pre-po stock. So this transfer most likely is coming out of EUCOM’s APS. The EUCOM battalions are busy enough as is, taking their sets will severely decrease their readiness levels. This means that any CONUS-EUCOM surge will take weeks [assuming we’re disrupting all C5/C17 schedules]. Army better cranks up Raytheon’s production line again for new sets. [Patriot replacement has been pushed so far back they have to buy new. And THAAD can’t cover the mission.]

    Patriot also need contractor support. They’re not as bad as the planes that have full-time onsite contractors, but they do need them on-call. Granted contractors don’t count as boots-on-the-ground, so Biden can keep his promise.

  10. LeaNder says:

    Slightly off topic.

    The current issue of the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies covers the war in the Ukraine. The Journal is completely Open Access. Interesting contributions.

    From Paul Robinson’s aticle I learned that the small amount of troops Rumsfeld sent to Iraq probably weren’t his own idea, but were what experts considered the New type of Wars post 1989. I admittedly was a bit surprised about the troops he assumes were facing each other initially in the Ukraine.

    200.000 on the side of Russia including 40.000 Donetzk/Lugansk militia versus 250.000 Ukrainian troops. (page 13) Sounds like they faced each other in almost equal strenght?

    What are your guesstimates. Not that I have an idea of these type of things. Still I would be interested.

    • TTG says:


      Ukraine’s Minister of Defense said at the beginning of the war that the Ukrainian war machine consisted of a million men and women under arms. Full mobilization was declared on day one. Many of those were lightly armed and lightly trained Territorial Defense Forces who fought the invaders with whatever they had, including all their hearts. That’s the nature of a strategy of total defense.

      That Robinson article is good. His bottom line is that despite all the whiz bang theories about RMA, 4th generation war and others, the nature of war has not changed. W.T. Sherman was oft quoted as describing war as what it was and what it remains. He described what the coming Civil War was going to bring upon the South to his friends in Louisiana. He was right. Later he said this to residents of Atlanta. “You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out.” Weapons and tactics may change over time, war does not.

  11. Harper says:

    Russia has made a substantial adjustment in military strategy as Col. Lang has indicated with the targeting of the energy grid and water systems. Not looking to take further territory but digging in existing priority territories and letting Ukraine forces attempt to retake territory at tremendous costs. A grinding harsh war of attrition.

    There is a strategic bet underlying Putin’s approach: The West will seek an end before sanctions and other factors force Russia to seek a solution. Cold winter storms hitting Germany and forcing already a 60 percent increase in energy usage this past few weeks. Without adequate electric grid and water, more and more Ukrainians will be fleeing into Poland and beyond, adding to the squeeze on Europe.

    Russian Kremlin circles are also splitting over whether to escalate or seek some resolution at a point of advantage. Popular opposition is suppressed but within the Putin circles, there is a growing fissure. Unclear when and if that becomes a strategic factor on the Russian side.

    Clearly the decision to send the Patriot battery to Ukraine, along with two to Poland, is a reflection that someone in the Pentagon sees the directionality of the war. If Col. Lang is correct and the Ukrainians have already been being trained on the Patriots, this can impact soon. If not, it will be months before the Patriot systems impact on the fighting. What happens in the gap could be critical. Germany is already talking about restoring economic ties to Russia as soon as the war ends, Italy and France are also hedging, the gap between US and European support for Ukraine is widening and the GOP House majority in January may be less giving than Pelosi was.

    I do believe that the US is still cognizant of the dark red lines for Russia, including direct NATO troop presence manning Patriot batteries inside Ukraine. Russians have so far chosen to ignore the extent of US and NATO involvement, but clearly that is being reassessed right now. That is why Putin has postponed his end of the year press availability until after some strategic decisions are made IMHO.

    • Fred says:


      “Italy and France are also hedging”

      What is you take on Meloni as PM of Italy? She’s had harsh words for Macron dating back a few years to complaints about France pursuing overturning Gaddafi in Libya, with the resulting flow of immigrants as well as the destruction of any potential oil/gas deal between what was the (then) stable Libyan government and Italy’s?

  12. drifter asked “What will be the Russian response?”
    Take a look at this:

    CNBC: Ukraine war live updates: Russia warns U.S. of ‘unpredictable consequences’ if it sends Patriot missile systems to Ukraine.

    This business of seeing how far we can push Russia before they move into an uncontrollable level of escalation seems absolutely insane to me.
    And all-to-likely to lead to totally disastrous consequences for America.

  13. Mark Logan says:

    We don’t have many of them, but giving the Ukrainians some Raytheon’s C-RAMs would help.

  14. Lars says:

    The idea that escalation would cause Russia to attack NATO, or use nuclear weapons, is not all that probable or valid. They have considerable trouble already militarily. A better proposal would be to force Russia out of Ukraine and that could be accomplished by providing weapons that can reach anywhere in occupied Ukraine. No doubt that means they could reach targets inside Russia and that should be pointed out to them, in addition to telling them that if they continue to target civilians, they pace of delivery will rise exponentially and could include a serious upgrade to the Ukrainian air force.

    The idea that there is some Prester John, redux, out there in the east is just fantasy, as it was the last time. There is a lot of rot in Russia and the longer this war goes on, the more it will be exposed. Most people can see this, even if Fox News is unable to.

  15. Robb says:

    Perhaps the US could ask the Taliban to let Ukraine use some of the equipment that was abandoned in Afghanistan, surely they wound like to do their part. The logistics would also be shorter.

  16. Bill Roche says:

    I read this a.m. that Russia unleashed lots of missiles into Ukraine last night (December 16th). Is Putin trying to complete the destruction of Ukraine’s electricity b/f Patriots arrive? No electricity, no civilization, no Ukraine. This is Russian escalation. “If Russia can not have Ukraine there will be no Ukraine”. Is that Putin’s point? Or is it Ukraine will be forced into the mud of March and come groveling to the Russian’s for peace? I think it is both. For those correspondents who are wed to the need for Russian security I ask, why not Ukrainian, Polish, Slovak, Baltic, and Finnish security? Should Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Moldova also accept a Russian master? The “provacateur” is Putin. He is going to create a battlefield into which NATO jets (F15’s ?) will be introduced. Ukrainians have a say in this. They can announce that they accept their status as curs to the mighty slav, bitches to the Russian. Sorry for the emotionally charged words but Ukrainian independence is the issue. Putin has announced they may not be so. Remember who attacked whom.

    • TTG says:

      Bill Roche,

      Illia Ponomarenko reports that Kyiv administrators claim 37 of the 40 missiles targeting the Kyiv region were intercepted. The city did not lose electric power. However, the city is without water, at least temporarily. One of those missiles was brought down by a single Ukrainian Territorial Defense Unit soldier with a PKM.

      A total of 72 cruise missiles and 4 guided air to ground missiles were fired this morning. A total of 60 were shot down. There are also photos of several missiles that crashed in Russia due to malfunction.

    • borko says:

      Bill Roche

      By destroying the grid the Russians are copying what NATO did in ’99 to Serbia.
      Like Ukraine, Serbia was also independent and was fighting to preserve it’s territorial integrity.

      This is an excerpt from a NATO press conference (May 25, 1999), NATO spokesman Jamie Shea answering questions from the press:

      Question (Norwegian News Agency): I am sorry Jamie but if you say that the Army has a lot of back-up generators, why are you depriving 70% of the country of not only electricity, but also water supply, if he has so much back-up electricity that he can use because you say you are only targeting military targets?

      Jamie Shea (NATO Spokesman) : Yes, I’m afraid electricity also drives command and control systems. If President Milosevic really wants all of his population to have water and electricity all he has to do is accept NATO’s five conditions and we will stop this campaign. But as long as he doesn’t do so we will continue to attack those targets which provide the electricity for his armed forces.

      • Bill Roche says:

        IMHO NATO had zero authority to involve itself in civil war in Serbia. It was precisely against the NATO charter which had no business taking sides in an internal conflict. It was wrong when Clinton encouraged NATO, and further wrong when Bush continued to back Kosovo. Thank you for your memory.

        • borko says:


          So you do condemn the policy of targeting dual use/civilian infrastructure that was done by NATO in Serbia, and Russia is doing now in Ukraine ?

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