Germany announced on Saturday that it will deliver an additional Patriot air defense system to Ukraine immediately. Ukraine’s beleaguered air defenses have been severely overstretched in recent weeks, with Russians attacking energy infrastructure.

The German Federal Ministry of Defense posted on X: “Germany will immediately hand over another Patriot system to Ukraine to repel Russian airstrikes. This is in addition to the air defense systems that have already been delivered and are planned to be delivered.”

“Due to the increase in Russian airstrikes against Ukraine, the German government decided to further strengthen Ukrainian air defenses,” Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said. He noted that Russian terror from the air continues and poses a threat to human life and the existence of infrastructure, as well as the combat capability of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

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The additional Patriot missile system will be the third Germany has supplied so far.

Zelensky thanked German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for “a real manifestation of support for Ukraine at a critical time for us.”

Zelensky said in his evening address he was also “working” with Germany on the supply of an additional Iris-T air defense system, which is capable of short- and medium-range protection against missiles and drones.

What is the Patriot?

The “Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target” (PATRIOT) surface-to-air guided air and missile defense system was advertised as one of the best available, based on its test performances long before it was used “in anger.”

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The first were deployed by US Forces in the mid-1980s and during the first Gulf War they performed well against the Iraqi Scud missile threat. Since then, the system – its radars, fire control systems and especially its missiles – has evolved, been modernized, and upgraded as the threat has similarly become technologically more advanced.

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Desperately needed

On April 6 President Volodymyr Zelensky said that to fully protect Ukraine from Russian missile attacks 25 Patriot systems, each consisting of 6-8 missile batteries, were needed.

The draft document lists the EU’s existing and ongoing efforts, ranging from political, military, and financial assistance to commitment to drive forward Kyiv’s accession process.

On Wednesday, April 10, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba said that he and his team had identified 100 Patriot systems being held worldwide. He said that some neighboring countries were using more than one complete system to guard a single airport. This was a follow-up to similar comments he had made while attending NATO’s 75th anniversary celebrations on April 3.

Germany was found to be in possession of 11 systems, including 88 launchers, with 4 more systems and 32 launchers on order.

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A more in-depth assessment of the Patriot missile system from Kyiv Post’s military analyst can be found here.

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