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​Greek Patriots, Swedish RBS 70, Other Types of Air Defense Ukraine Can Receive from European Allies

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The MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system / Photo credit: NATO Allied Air Command
The MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system / Photo credit: NATO Allied Air Command

What air defense systems can Ukraine count on from its allies

When Ukraine's powerfuly appealed to urgently strengthen its air defense, Germany reacted immediately and in an unexpected way.

Berlin immediately handed over another MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system, which in fact became the third in a row. It is 25% of all amount that Bundeswehr has. It is also worth to mention another expected arrival of German IRIS-T SLM to Ukraine.

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Poland has also promised to find missiles for Soviet air defense systems. The United Kingdom provides a new and largest aid package worth $600 million, including anti-aircraft missiles from its own army stockpile as well as orders new air defense equipment.

But due to the lack of Patriot SAM systems in European segment of NATO, things have slowed down a bit. Because there are currently 30-35 Patriot batteries in Europe.

In addition, talks about the possible transfer of its European analogue, SAMP/T system, have not yet yielded a public result, as it depends on the decision of France and Italy.

Greek Patriots, Swedish RBS 70, Other Types of Air Defense Ukraine Can Receive from European Allies, Defense Express
SAMP/T system / Photo credit: mil.in.ua

At the same time, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba said that negotiations on four batteries were underway. It is unknown what countries would be donors we are talking about. According to a number of publications in the Western media, unofficial conversations point to pressure on Spain and Greece.

It is known that Greece has six batteries in service, which are listed in most sources as PAC2 version. According to Greek media their radar indicate their belonging to PAC3 version, but they use only GEM-T missiles from PAC2. The United States is supposedly ready to provide Athens with certain security guarantees, but in fact it is buying back one battery from the country. At the same time, it is worth noting that earlier Greece was not ready to give this SAM at all.

Moreover, Greece offered to give S-300 SAM systems only in exchange for a battery of American Patriot.

Greek Patriots, Swedish RBS 70, Other Types of Air Defense Ukraine Can Receive from European Allies, Defense Express
The launch of GEM-T missile / Photo credit: Associated Press

It is known that Spain has three Patriot batteries in PAC2 version, one of which is "redundant". The fact is that the Spanish Patriot in Turkey has been carrying out the Active Fence mission, protecting Turkish Incirlik airbase from threats from Syria since 2015. The possibility of its transfer was discussed in 2023.

Swedish Minister for Defense Pål Jonson announced that he might send Patriot systems to Ukraine. However, this country is currently only in the process of receiving them, and their full deployment is scheduled for 2025. In total, the country ordered four batteries in a simplified configuration with three launchers in 2018. Therefore, this case may not be possible in the near future.

Instead, the head of the Swedish Ministry for Defense noted that he was considering the possibility of transferring RBS 70. This is a man-portable air-defense system that is already being actively used in Ukraine. It allows to hit helicopters at unexpected for enemy ranges thanks to its high range of up to 7 km and up to 9 km in more modern NG version.

Latvia is also planning to strengthen Ukraine's air defense. Minister of Defense of Latvia Andris Sprūds said that Riga was preparing to transfer an unnamed short-range air defense system. And Minister of National Defense of Lithuania Laurynas Kasčiūnas will buy radars for Ukraine.

But the United States can still make the most important contribution. This week, the country is to approve funding for assistance to Ukraine. This means freeing up the supply route for a number of air defense systems, including Patriot SAM systems, additional radars, missiles, and short-range Avanger air defense systems.

Earlier Defense Express reported that Lithuanian M577 armored personnel carriers had strenthed Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

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