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Means of Anti-Aircraft Defense: What Weaponry Did Ukraine Receive From Allies in 2023? (Part 3)

Highly capable Patriot air defense missile systems play a vital role in protecting Ukraine's airspace
Highly capable Patriot air defense missile systems play a vital role in protecting Ukraine's airspace
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The greatest progress in the transfer of weaponry by allies was in providing Ukraine with anti-aircraft defense systems. In 2023, a range of new anti-aircraft defense systems was introduced, demonstrating their effectiveness from the first days of use. These systems significantly strengthened Ukraine's airspace, saving many lives among civilians by countering constant shelling with drones and rockets in peaceful cities of the country

The quantity and quality of air defense systems are steadily increasing

Among the armaments are the American Patriot missile defense system, the Norwegian NASAMS air defense system, German IRIS-T air defense system, Italian-French SAMP/T air defense system, American Hawk and Avenger air defense system, British Stormer HVM 2, French Crotale air defense system, Italian Skyguard air defense system, and many portable anti-aircraft missile systems.

Tanks, IFVs, APVs: What Weaponry Did Ukraine Receive From Allies in 2023? (Part 1)

Read more: Tanks, IFVs, APVs: What Weaponry Did Ukraine Receive From Allies in 2023? (Part 1)

Artillery Systems, Missiles, Artillery Shells: What Weaponry Did Ukraine Receive From Allies in 2023? (Part 2)

NASAMS air defense system, Defense Express
NASAMS air defense system / Photo credit: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
The HAWK surface-to-air missile system, Defense Express
The HAWK surface-to-air missile system / open source

The sheer number of names already makes it evident that allies have heard Ukraine in terms of air defense, the Espreso publication reported.

The most powerful and expensive defense system (the price of one battery is $1 billion, and one missile costs $4 million) is the Patriot air defense system, capable of intercepting even ballistic missiles with a radius of 80 km.

Patriot Air Defense Systems, Defense Express
Patriot Air Defense Systems / Photo from open soures

The first Patriot in Ukraine's arsenal, which began covering Kyiv, appeared in the spring. With their help, the Armed Forces of Ukraine started to destroy russian Kinzhal hypersonic air-launched ballistic missiles (by the end of November, 15 of these missiles were shot down), which they could not intercept before.

Patriot system on the inside, Defense Express
Patriot system on the inside / Still frame credit: Ukrainian Air Force

In 2023, the United States supplied Ukraine with this weaponry, and through joint efforts, Germany and the Netherlands contributed. At the end of the year, Germany announced the transfer of another Patriot SAM system, which is likely already operational in Ukraine.

Therefore, we can talk about three powerful systems in Ukraine. Unfortunately, these weapons cannot be provided to Ukraine in large quantities, as, for example, there are only 60 Patriot SAM systems for the entire territory of the United States, and the production of new ones is a lengthy process.

Newly-delivered NASAMS systems, Defense Express
Newly-delivered NASAMS systems enter service in Ukraine / Open source illustrative photo

The NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System) is an excellent means of protecting critical infrastructure and military objects. The first two NASAMS were received in the fall of 2022, and an additional six were ordered by the United States for Ukraine, one ordered by Canada. Additionally, Norway supplied several.

So, in 2023, at least 4 (possibly 6) new NASAMS systems were added to the existing two. Therefore, the total number is approximately 6-8 air defense missile systems.

The IRIS-T air defense systems, Defense Express
The IRIS-T air defense systems / Open source illustrative photo

The IRIS-T SAM system is a modern air defense system capable of engaging multiple targets simultaneously within a few minutes. Germany supplies Ukraine with two versions of the IRIS-T SAM system—short-range and medium-range. The first IRIS-T SAM system arrived in Ukraine in mid-October of the previous year.

IRIS-T family of air defense systems, Defense Express
IRIS-T family of air defense systems / Open source illustrative photo

During the following year, three additional systems were confirmed to be deployed. However, the official German government website mentions a total of 5 such systems by the end of 2023. Therefore, the current number of these SAM systems is estimated to be between 4 and 5.

SAMP/T anti-missile system, Defense Express
SAMP/T anti-missile system / Photo credit: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

Information about the first SAMP/T air defense system in Ukraine, often referred to as the European counterpart to the Patriot air defense system, was reported in May-June.

But due to a few launchers and a slow pace of replenishing anti-aircraft missile stocks, the likelihood of additional SAMP/T deliveries currently appears low.

Read more: Artillery Systems, Missiles, Artillery Shells: What Weaponry Did Ukraine Receive From Allies in 2023? (Part 2)