RIGA - The delivery of the Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine will have an impact on the Russian Air Force, but considering the cost of the system and the field of operation, the Ukrainians will have to carefully choose potential targets, the former commander of the National Armed Forces, Raimonds Graube, admitted to LETA.
Patriot is a very high precision missile system and works on the principle of "one shot, one hit". If such a weapon gets into the hands of the Ukrainians, it will force Russia to change its strategy, especially regarding the use of its Air Force in the bombing of Ukraine, Graube said.
However, he emphasized that the territory of Ukraine is huge and it will not be possible to cover the entire country's airspace with this system. Therefore, the armed forces of Ukraine will have to choose very carefully which place to use this weapon for protection, namely for the defense of troops near the front or for the protection of critical infrastructure.
"Publicly available information shows that the missiles intended for Ukraine have an operational range of about 100 kilometers, although systems with a range of several hundred kilometers are being produced. It is an expensive system, and the Ukrainians will have to think about how to use it more effectively," Graube emphasized.
At the same time, he pointed out that basically cruise missiles are launched from bombers by Russia.
As reported, the Pentagon is finalizing plans to send Patriot missile batteries that can shoot down incoming missiles to Ukraine, US media reported Tuesday.
As Russia has ramped up missile strikes on key Ukrainian infrastructure, the administration of President Joe Biden could announce the deployment as early as this week, US officials told The New York Times and CNN.
Ukraine's air defenses have played a key role during Russia's invasion, but with Moscow stepping up strikes on energy infrastructure as it faces growing losses on the ground, Kyiv has repeatedly pressed other countries -- especially the United States -- for the Patriot system.
The US Army describes Patriot -- which consists of multiple parts including a radar, a control station, power generating equipment and up to eight launchers -- as its "most advanced air defense system."
While dozens of personnel are assigned to a battery, only three are required to operate it in combat.