What are the Russian weapons that can be used against Patriot missiles?

President Putin said that Russia always has “an antidote” to deal with the Patriot system, referring to various weapons specialized in attacking the US air defense shield.

“Since the Patriot missiles are a defensive weapon, Russia’s adversaries have opted to give them to Ukraine. We will remember this and be prepared with an antidote at all times, “Putin made the remarks at a press conference on December 22.

The Russian leader has stated that sending Patriot missiles to Ukraine from the United States is “useless” and will serve to drag out the conflict. The head of the Kremlin continued, “Let them install Patriot in Ukraine; we will deal with it.”

Experts from the United States have warned that deploying the Patriot complex to a dynamic warfare environment like Ukraine will present significant obstacles. The former head of the Air Defense Artillery School for the United States Army, retired Colonel David Shank, has conceded that Russia possesses many weapons capable of countering the Patriot system.

The United States’ newest Patriot PAC-3 MSE system can intercept ballistic missiles from 70 kilometers with pinpoint accuracy. The previous PAC-2 variant can do the same from up to 160 kilometers. Bigger but less precise.

” Radar-killing missiles will be one of the main weapons for Russia to be able to deal with Patriot. Radar destruction will render the system useless,” Mr. Shank said.

Russia’s Su-30SM and Su-35S multirole aircraft, now engaged in combat in Ukraine, frequently launch Kh-31P anti-radar missiles, which range 110 kilometers.

The Kh-31PD/increased PM’s range of 260 km and wide-spectrum passive detector allows it to pick up and follow signals from various radar installations.

Aimed at countering sophisticated American weapons like the Patriot air defence system and the Aegis missile shield, the Kh-31 was developed by the Soviet Union in the late 1970s.

A passive radar-killing probe version (the Kh-31P) and an active radar detector version (the Kh-31A) of the Kh-31 series entered service in 1988.

The primary propulsion stage of all Kh-31 variants is used to reach supersonic velocity. Then a ramjet engine is engaged to keep that velocity constant for the duration of the flight. Kh-31P models may achieve over 4,300 km/h by flying at great heights in pursuit of hostile radar signals.

To protect Patriot batteries and American ships, the United States government needs to develop a countermeasure against the Kh-31 series, which is widely regarded as among the most lethal tactical weapons for Patriot batteries and American ships.

The MA-31 flying target, which Russia built from the Kh-31 missile platform, was ordered by the Pentagon in the 1990s following a series of initiatives to develop high-speed flying targets with similar characteristics. In turn, this weapon failed.

The ground-based Patriot defence system is vulnerable to a concerted attack using a wide range of Russian military assets, including cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, and suicide unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). One hundred hectares in size, with no immediate possibility of relocation.

When Russia’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) forces find the Patriot battlefield in Ukraine, the country’s military will focus on setting up an ambush, starting with suicide UAVs with a one-day range. It is thousands of kilometers away and very hard to stop.

The suicide drone is made so it can only be used once in an attack behind enemy lines. This weapon is small, doesn’t weigh much, and is easy to use. They are hard for radar and sensor systems to find and can come from far away. This is a massive problem for the Ukrainian air defense systems.

The Ukrainian military and US intelligence believe that Russia is employing the Iranian-made Shahed-136 suicide drone, capable of striking targets from a distance of 2,000 to 2,500 kilometers and carrying a 40-kilogram bomb. 

These suicide drones costing $20,000, may be deployed in vast numbers, overwhelming Ukraine’s air defences. It is difficult for the Ukrainian military to fire $4 million worth of Patriot missiles to intercept unmanned aerial vehicles. Therefore they must rely on low-altitude air defence systems.

After the “swarm of UAVs” attack, Russia is likely to launch many cruise missiles, including Kalibr, launched from warships, Iskander-K and P-800 Oniks from ground launchers, Kh-22 and Kh-101 long-range cruise missiles from strategic bombers, and Kh-59 tactical surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 115-285 km, depending on the version. Tactical ballistic missiles can also damage Patriot forces.

” Russia can launch a large-scale attack, using a variety of weapons from many directions to overload the defense of the Patriot complex,” Shank said.

During the December 16 attack on Kyiv and several other cities in Ukraine, Commander-in-Chief Valeriy Zaluzhny said that Russia had launched 72 Kalibr, Kh-101, and Kh-22 missiles, as well as four Kh-59 and Kh-31P missiles to suppress the defence battles and not reveal their position when taking part in an interception.

The Patriot system has destroyed more than 100 ballistic missiles since it was first launched in 1984 and has been deployed across Europe and the Middle East. If Russia does indeed launch the “anti poisons” that President Putin indicated, Patriot will be put through an actual fire test, as per Colonel Shank.

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