Ukraine Downs Putin Radar Plane With American-Made Patriot Missile System

( – One of the weapons the US has sent to Ukraine is the MIM-104 Patriot. It’s a surface-to-air missile defense system that allows the Ukrainian military to protect its airspace in some areas. Officials have now given an example of the system working as it was intended.

In May, Army Colonel Rosanna Clemente attended the Fires Symposium 2024 in Oklahoma. The assistant chief of staff for Operations for the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command discussed how Ukraine is using the Patriot defense system. According to Clemente, the country used one of the surface-to-air missile systems to take down a Russian Beriev A-50, an early warning and control system aircraft.

The Russian aircraft tracks approximately 40 air targets or 300 ground targets at the same time. It’s usually crewed by about 15 personnel and can stay airborne for a long time because it has mid-air refueling capabilities. The A-50 can also coordinate a maximum of 10 fighters in ground attack missions or air-to-air interception. Ukrainian officials have previously described the aircraft as functioning “as the ‘eyes’ of the enemy.”

Russia is believed to have had 15 of the aircraft before it invaded Ukraine in February 2022. One was damaged in February of the following year and another was taken down by Ukraine in February 2024.

Clemente explained that the Germans donated Patriot systems mounted on trucks to Ukraine, which has made it much easier to move around. That has allowed the Ukrainian military to deploy them to the front lines to target the Russian aircraft operating in those areas. They did exactly that when they engaged the Russian aircraft in January and took it down.

The colonel explained that some of the Patriot systems are “being used to protect static sites and critical national infrastructure.” She said that Ukraine is moving others around to do “some really historic things” that she hasn’t seen in the more than two decades she’s been “an air defender.”

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