Russia tried to destroy a US-made Patriot air defense system in Ukraine last week with a hypersonic missile, two US officials told CNN.
The attack failed, and the Ukrainian military instead intercepted the missile using the Patriot system, the officials said, marking their first known successful Ukrainian use of the advanced air defense system only weeks after it arrived in country.
The Ukrainian air defenders fired multiple missiles from the Patriot at different angles to intercept the Russian missile, demonstrating how quickly they have become adept at using the powerful system, one official said.
US officials believe the Russians picked up on signals that are emitted from the Patriot, allowing them to target the system using the hypersonic missile, known as the Kinzhal or Killjoy.
The Patriot missile system has a powerful radar to detect incoming targets at long-range, making it a potent air defense platform capable of intercepting ballistic missiles and more. But the radar emission necessary to spot threats at a distance also makes it possible for the enemy to detect the Patriot battery and figure out its location. And unlike some shorter-range air defenses provided to Ukraine that are mobile and harder to target, the large Patriot battery is a stationary system, making it possible for the Russians to zero in on the location over time. [Continue reading…]