Commander of the 96th Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade Serhii Yaremenko told journalists how Patriot anti-aircraft/anti-missile systems work for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The interview he gave to ArmyInform reveals multiple interesting details.
First of all, we should take note of how quickly Ukrainian servicemen pulled out the training course on Patriot systems. According to Yaremenko, the entire course lasted only three months, which is three-four times shorter than the standard time of preparing personnel to work with this sophisticated equipment.
Particularly, the training was centered around eliminating ballistic threats specifically. Repelling ballistic attacks was worked out on combat simulators but the modeled targets weren't abstract ballistic missiles but actual weapons in service with the russian army, with all their movement and parameters and general specifications.
Despite such a short training course, the team of Patriot operators took down their first Kh-47 Kinzhal missile, a weapon that was labeled "hypersonic" by the russians. According to the brigade commander, they only found out what kind of target they destroyed after the wreckage was picked up and analyzed. This detail is one more proof that Kinzhal works just like any other ballistic missile during the terminal phase.
However, it is one thing to succeed once, and another is to make interception of such targets systematic. The first real test for the Ukrainian air defense personnel was on May 16:
"Almost simultaneously, 16 ballistic targets were approaching from multiple directions, most of them aimed at the Patriot system. I am always proud of my subordinates but that time even I was shocked by their composure. The people were aware of the fact ballistic missiles were moving directly toward them. Not a second they panicked, the work was cooperated and organized, they divided all targets by sectors, destroyed them at the minimum distance but at an altitude high enough to minimize the potential damage to the infrastructure [caused by falling wreckage – Defense Express]," Colonel Serhii Yaremenko said.
On a side note, we remind you that on that night, according to the report by the Ukrainian General Staff, russians fired 6 Kinzhal and 10 ground-launched (either S-400 or Iskander-M) ballistic missiles on Ukraine, all successfully intercepted. The Patriot systems were working in a "machine gun mode" firing over 30 missiles in a timespan of a few minutes.
The commander of the 96th Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade also said Ukrainian Patriot operators had already taken down 80 air targets with this system, in just one month since they entered combat duty.
"Our people have an indeed priceless experience, I am not exaggerating. I'm sure we will put it down in the books which we'll use to train the next generation of air defense systems operators," Serhii Yaremenko said.