According to two sources from the Defense Department, the United States Department of Defense is considering providing training to the Ukrainian armed forces at a military facility in the United States on how to operate the Patriot missile defense system.
Since Russia’s invasion in February, the Ukrainian armed forces have finished training on a variety of different weapons systems that NATO has provided. This includes the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, which was manufactured in the United States. This training has taken place in eastern Europe, Germany, and the United Kingdom. However, prior to this point, none of the training has actually been carried out in the United States.
The news that the Department of Defense is considering conducting the training within the United States comes a day after the Biden administration announced that it would provide one Patriot battery to Ukraine to assist in the country’s defense against Russian aggression. The Patriot battery is a sophisticated air defense system designed to shoot down incoming missiles and aircraft.
For the past few months, Kyiv has been requesting that the United States provide it with Patriot; however, one thing that has been holding up a decision has been the complexity of the system and the extensive training that is required to operate it. According to the Pentagon’s estimates, training the Ukrainians to operate the Patriot, which normally requires 90 soldiers, will take a few months at the very least.
The individuals who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing sensitive conversations said that the department is currently debating whether or not to hold all or part of that training in the United States as opposed to a third party country, such as a U.S. base in Europe.
According to one of the authorities, it would make the most sense to conduct the training in the United States, most likely in Fort Sill, which is located in Oklahoma and houses the majority of the instructors as well as the complex simulations. According to the source, it is possible to carry out the training in Europe; however, doing so would bring greater challenges in terms of logistics.
A representative for the Department of Defense declined to comment for this article. It is quite unlikely that the system, which consists of a number of support trucks carrying control stations, radars, and generators, will arrive on the battlefield for a significant number of months. A third official from the Department of Defense stated on Wednesday that the Pentagon will not send it to Ukraine until the Ukrainians have received complete training on how to use it.
According to the person, it is likely that the United States military will transfer a Patriot from storage in the United States to Ukraine rather than removing a battery from a location where it is currently deployed, such as the Middle East or Europe. The latter option is likely to be met with resistance due to the fact that battery supplies are in high demand all over the world, and particularly in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries, who are now engaged in defensive operations against Iranian drones and cruise missiles.
During his visit to Washington on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had a number of meetings with officials from the United States. One of the main topics of these meetings was further advanced weaponry. The Biden administration launched a big $1.85 billion security plan after Vice President Biden landed on Wednesday. The Patriot is a component of this package. Additionally, additional ammo, mortars, and guidance kits for aerial munitions are included in this bundle as well.
During a press conference that Zelenskyy and Biden held together at the White House, Zelenskyy began by thanking Biden for the gift of a Patriot defense missile system and then immediately stated that he is going to require additional systems. The Vice President reacted by saying, “We’re working on it.”
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