Posted 22 декабря 2022, 09:06

Published 22 декабря 2022, 09:06

Modified 24 декабря 2022, 22:38

Updated 24 декабря 2022, 22:38

The very same "Patriot": what are the pros and cons of American air defense

22 декабря 2022, 09:06
Фото: Новые Известия
In addition to a huge number of different ammunition for the American weapons already delivered to Ukraine, the new aid package includes one battery of the Patriot anti-aircraft missile system (“Patriot”). The Patriot complex is the most promoted brand of American weapons.

Alexander Sychev

The long-term advertising campaign turned out to be so effective that even the statistics on the combat use of the complexes, proving their dubious effectiveness, have no effect on the choice of customers. As a result, the Patriot generated multi-billion dollar revenues for Raytheon Technologies Corporation and numerous contractors. The complex in various modifications is in service with almost 20 countries of the world.

What modification of the Patriot will be sent to Ukraine is not reported. This is hardly the most recent PAC-3, adopted by the United States in the early 2000s. But that doesn't matter. The Pentagon immediately said that even older models would be heavily emasculated in order to minimize technological losses when battery cells fall into Russian hands.

A standard Patriot battery is a host of different installations: AN/MSQ-104 command post, AN/MPQ-65 or older AN/MPQ-53 phased array radar, up to eight launchers, anti-aircraft guided missiles, generator electric power, communication facilities, radio relay stations, antenna-mast devices with a maximum height of more than 30 meters, transport-loading vehicles, a mobile maintenance station, means of radio engineering and tactical camouflage.

All this economy in the deployed position occupies one square kilometer. Therefore, determining its location is not difficult. The goal is very significant.

Up to 60 specialists are required to deploy the complex in position. Then about 30 people will be engaged in the operation and maintenance of the air defense system, but three operators will be able to fire.

In its latest modification, under the designation PAC-3, the complex, according to various sources, is capable of firing at a distance of 100 to 200 kilometers and has an increased hit probability compared to its predecessors. The coefficient of destruction of the aircraft was brought to 0.8-0.9, tactical missiles - 0.6-0.8. In other words, it takes a little more than one missile per target, and then in the absence of interference. In real combat operations, the performance of the complex drops sharply.

It is precisely because of the low efficiency that the Americans usually fire two missiles at each target, and even in this case, as practice shows, not the most advanced Middle Eastern tactical missiles slipped through the Patriot barrier unscathed. And those that were shot down received mainly damage to the tail section. The warhead flew to the ground and exploded, however, away from the target. Only the fact that the region was not densely populated saved them from casualties and destruction.

Another feature of the latest modification is that when working on ballistic missiles, the system needs the support of a satellite. He must inform the Patriot radar in advance of the coordinates of the missile and the trajectory of its flight. Thus, this will be another fact of the direct participation of the United States in the conflict.

Against the attacks of modern Russian cruise and precision tactical missiles, which can also use decoys, the Patriot is, in general, helpless. In addition, the United States will not be able to supply a significant number of batteries that could replace the retired Soviet S-300 systems and form a sufficient air defense density. There are not so many "Patriots" in the United States itself.

But before the start of hostilities, Kyiv had the largest arsenal of air defense systems in Europe, having inherited from the Soviet Union, in particular, a significant number of S-300 systems. Today, crumbs remain of the former wealth. Neither Patriot, nor other supplied old systems will fundamentally change the situation. Neither in Iraq in 1991, nor in Saudi Arabia, where Yemeni rebels successfully shelled oil fields a few years ago, did the Patriot succeed.

Once in Ukraine, the Patriot will find itself in very uncomfortable conditions and become a target for a wide range of Russian weapons, from which the American complex has not yet had to defend itself. For example, Russian Su-35 fighters can strike with Kh-31P long-range anti-radar missiles. They are equipped with passive radar seekers of a wide range of radio waves. And the updated missile has an increased range of up to about 300 kilometers. The aircraft may not even be within range of the Patriot, as well as additional air defense systems that will be placed around the battery to protect it. The high speed and maneuverability of the Russian missile significantly increase the chance to overcome even a layered and integrated defense.

Ukrainian personnel will be trained at the Grafenwehr training ground in East Bavaria (Germany). It is the largest American landfill outside the United States. Its area exceeds 200 square kilometers. Training, according to the Pentagon, will take several weeks, which, in principle, is impossible. Either Ukrainian nationalists began to be trained in advance, or the most responsible work at the complex will be carried out by the American or Western European military. The system does not belong to the number, as the Anglo-Saxons say "plug and play" ("plug and play"). You can’t just bring the complex, deploy it in position and start using it effectively.

Here are the JDAM adjustable bombs, a really simple weapon. Since the end of the last century, the Boeing Corporation has already converted more than 250,000 conventional bombs into adjustable ones. To do this, they install sets of wings, which are attached to the middle part of the bombs, and change the tail block. It has a controlled plumage, and inside there is a computer and navigation equipment: an inertial guidance system with a global positioning receiver.

Such a bomb no longer falls vertically downward, but can glide at a distance of about 30 kilometers from the drop point. It all depends on the altitude and speed of the aircraft. Deviation from the target is 11 meters.

But the supply of this system, by and large, is ineffective due to the shortage of combat aircraft in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.