TechUSA to send Israeli patriot systems to Ukraine amid rising conflict

USA to send Israeli patriot systems to Ukraine amid rising conflict

Israeli Patriot launcher
Israeli Patriot launcher
Images source: © Licensor | Zachi Evenor and MathKnight
Paweł Maziarz

28 June 2024 08:17

The United States is in talks about sending Israeli Patriot systems to Ukraine. Eight older batteries could significantly strengthen the country's air defence and improve its offensive capabilities. Analysts describe the weapon's capabilities.

Ukraine has frequently appealed to Western allies to provide air defence systems, especially American Patriot systems. This weaponry is significant for strengthening the country's air defence, though it is also used offensively (such as in the downing of a Beriev A-50 early warning aircraft).

Recently, the United States announced that it is pausing deliveries of Patriot interceptors to other countries to prioritise deliveries to Ukraine. At the same time, Romania and the Netherlands have confirmed the transfer of missile systems. This is likely not the only such gesture, as the Financial Times reports on talks regarding sending Israeli missile systems as well.

Israeli Patriots for Ukraine?

The first reports of transferring Israeli weaponry appeared in May when citizens themselves began collecting signatures for a petition to the government. The chances for this are exceptionally high, especially since the United States encourages such action.

Israeli Patriot missile system launcher
Israeli Patriot missile system launcher© IDF

The Israeli batteries are older versions than the current Patriot systems in Ukraine. However, this is not a significant loss. According to military analysts, the older, retired PAC-2 model is still fully compatible with the newer ones. Most importantly, Israel also has sufficient stocks of interceptors, which have a more excellent range and more robust warheads than the PAC-3 models.

Older systems may be effective against Russian fighters, which drop devastating glide bombs on cities and military positions far from the front lines.

"PAC-2 is actually more useful than PAC-3 for long range intercepts against aircraft, so they’d certainly be useful [in Ukraine]," said Justin Bronk, senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London.

Officials and analysts believe that the Israeli systems are most likely to be sold to the United States and then transferred to Ukraine — up to eight Patriot air defence systems could reach Kyiv. However, they add that the key issue is whether Israel is ready to risk worsening relations with Russia.

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