Espreso. Global

Ukraine may run short of air defenses as Patriot missile production takes longer than production of Kinzhals

4 January, 2024 Thursday
17:56

Apart from two massive missile strikes, Shahed drones were Russia’s main weapon used in the attacks on Ukraine's rear areas

The German media outlet DW analyzed the capabilities of the Ukrainian air defense to withstand new Russian strikes and Kyiv's resources to do so.

Different types of air defense systems on guard of Ukrainian sky

Old air defense systems that were left over from the USSR guard Ukrainian skies. These systems include variously modified S-300 systems, Buk-M1, S-125, Osa, a few TOR systems, and Cubs that were given to Ukraine by allies in Eastern Europe. Additionally, Ukraine was given outdated but reliable Western short- and medium-range systems including Aspide, Hawk, and Crotale.

Long-range air defense systems supplied by Western allies, notably the incredibly successful American Patriot air defense system and the Italian-French SAMP/T development, also protect the skies over Ukraine.

In the face of a shortage of missiles for Soviet air defense systems, the United States and Ukraine have developed hybrid air defense systems called FrankenSAM, which allow the use of Western missiles from Soviet-converted launchers. However, they have not yet been used in Ukraine. 

Missiles for Patriot systems must be replenished

Ukraine’s Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat emphasized the need to replenish missiles, especially for the Patriot air defense system, which is capable of successfully hitting all targets, including Russian Kh-47 Kinzhal, which Russian propaganda has called "invulnerable." According to him, anti-missiles for this system are not produced very quickly. "This is a high-tech process that takes some time," he said.

Gustav Gressel, a German military analyst and security expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), also points this out. According to him, it takes longer to produce a missile for the Patriot than it does for Russia to produce the Kinzhal. And this is exactly the effect Russia is counting on when it plans to exhaust the Patriot, the expert said in an interview with the German media outlet ntv.

Number of missiles for Patriot SAMs is greater than number of Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missiles, Kovalenko says

However, Ukrainian military expert Oleksandr Kovalenko is skeptical of Gustav Gressel's words.

According to him, production of Kh-47M2 Kinzhal per month is 2-4 missiles or 24-48 missiles per year. Under sanctions conditions, it is more likely to be 24 rather than 48.

“I would like to separately note that today there are more than 1,700 Patriot SAM launchers in operation. One launcher is 4 rails, i.e. 4 missiles (with single reloading) or a total of 13,740 missiles loaded simultaneously into all launchers around the world,” he wrote.

That is to say, even if we calculate the bare minimum of missiles manufactured for the Patriot SAM system since 1984, the total number of these missiles is much higher than Russia's capacity to build the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal, and even at that minimal amount, their cumulative potential exceeds Russia's production capacity.

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