NASAMS deployed, but Ukraine desires Patriot anti missile defence system against Russian missiles

Negotiations for the Patriot missile system are underway. Ukraine has not given up hope of acquiring these anti-aircraft systems from the U.S.

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India. He holds an M.B.A in International Business. Books: Author: Foxtrot to Arihant: The Story of Indian Navy's Submarine Arm; Co Author : Warring Navies - India and Pakistan. *views are Personal

Ukraine received two installations of the NASAMS air defence system; the complexes are located on Ukrainian soil and have been activated, said Greg Hayes, the CEO of Raytheon Technologies, in an interview with CNBC.

The maker of these systems, Raytheon Technologies, transferred the anti-aircraft systems to the United States two weeks ago, and the Americans have already deployed them on Ukrainian territory.

In response to the significant threat posed by Russian missiles and drones assaulting Ukraine’s essential infrastructure, the Pentagon revealed its intention to expeditiously deploy two NASAMS air defence systems to Kyiv a few weeks ago. Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov confirmed this information, stating that the complexes should arrive “in October.”

NASAMS is a mobile anti-aircraft missile system manufactured in Norway. It is intended for use against targets at low to medium altitudes. These air defence systems may engage targets within approximately 25 kilometres with AMRAAM missiles and 50 kilometres with AMRAAM-ER missiles. In addition to AMRAAM/AMRAAM-ER and IRIS-T SLS/AIM-9X missiles, the Norwegian air defence system can utilize even lighter IRIS-T SLS missiles.

Negotiations for the Patriot Missile system

Kyiv has received air defence systems. But to defend against Russian ballistic missiles, the city does not have a missile defence system. Theoretically, Soviet air defence systems in Ukraine can shoot down cruise and ballistic targets, but it is hard to talk about their effectiveness against modern missiles.

In this context, Zelensky and his emissaries have urged the West, led by the United States, to provide Kyiv with several air defence systems. According to Hayes, Kyiv requests Patriot air defence systems, but Washington has only approved NASAMS. At the same time, Patriot negotiations are underway, and Ukraine has not given up hope of acquiring these anti-aircraft systems.

Ukraine has long been asking the United States for the sale of Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems, even before the war. 

  • September 2015. Former National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov advocated for deploying missile defence systems on Ukrainian soil.
  • August 2018. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the United States, Valery Chaly, stated that Ukraine intends to purchase three $750 million air defence systems from the United States.
  • October 2018. President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine revealed plans to acquire air defence systems from the United States.
  • April 2021. Andriy Yermak, the chief of President Zelensky’s office, stated that Ukraine should have Patriot missiles.
  • August 2021. The then-Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Oleksiy Reznikov, underlined that the United States should increase aid to Ukraine, including the deployment of air defence equipment and even American units.
  • September 2021. The Ukrainian President’s Office has produced a translation of content from the American website Politico. It concerned the potential delivery of the Iron Dome anti-missile defence system to Ukraine.

Unlike Soviet weapons in Ukraine, the Patriot air defence system was constantly upgraded to counter missile threats. But the United States does not sell the systems even to most of its allies.

Hayes admitted that Patriot is indeed a more effective system. Raytheon supplies them to 18 countries around the world, and they protect against threats such as ballistic missiles and drones.

He said that if you asked a Department of Defense official how to safeguard the airspace, they would recommend Patriot as the most effective air defence system available. Hayes added that there are also concerns around exports and the potential for Patriot systems to fall into Russian hands.

Ukraine’s missile shield

Some Soviet complexes can intercept ballistic missiles. The S-300V1 was the prototype that Ukraine received in the late 80s. But it did not receive the second so-called “big rocket”, which is the most crucial component against ballistic missiles. Part of the complex is incomplete because the Soviet military-industrial complex did not have time to complete it. The other complexes that Ukrainians have, like the S-300P, PT, PS, BUK M1, Tors, Osa, Tunguska, and Arrows, cannot intercept ballistic targets.

Two military units armed with S-300V1 anti-ballistic missile systems ended up in Ukraine after the fall of the Soviet Union. They were deployed in 1988, just before the fall of the Soviet Union.

The 25th anti-aircraft missile brigade (A1181) was established in Stryi, Lviv area, while the 137th anti-aircraft missile brigade (A3024) was established in Uman, Cherkasy region. From 2002 through 2012, despite the protests of the defence official, both brigades equipped with S-300V1 systems were deactivated.

Since 2014, when a significant number of Ukrainian air defence systems were rendered inoperable, there has been a strong push to return S-300V1 systems designed to counter short and medium-range ballistic missiles and aeroballistic and cruise missiles.

Unique characteristics of the S-300V1 air defence system include the fact that it is the only mobile anti-ballistic missile system in the world. The S-300V is a long-range, transportable, multi-channel surface-to-air missile system. It can provide strong air and missile defence in the theatre.

The system has a high tolerance to jamming, allowing it to engage aerial targets in severe ECM and fire countermeasures in any weather, day or night. 

At a range of up to 200 kilometres, the S-300V1 is designed to defeat tactical, theatrical, and medium-range ballistic missiles and aerodynamic targets. The system is mounted atop a tracked cross-country vehicle outfitted with its power supply, navigation systems, and surveying and positioning equipment. In 2018, there was news on their reactivation.

In June, an S-300V1 anti-aircraft missile system was spotted near Severodonetsk and Lysychansk in Luhansk Oblast., currently in Russian control. The photo was taken by foreign journalists and is available on Telegram channels. The camouflage on the vehicles indicates that they belong to the Ukrainian army. In particular, the photo showed a 9A83-1 self-propelled launcher. Her route of travel was unknown. These systems seem not to have survived the conflict.


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