Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister has claimed that only Russian air defense systems are capable of destroying hypersonic missiles despite US Patriots downing the ‘invincible’ Kinzhal hypersonic missile.
In an interview, Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, who also serves as the head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, expressed confidence in the capabilities of Russia’s air defense systems, highlighting their strengths and advancements.
Manturov confidently stated that Russia outperforms its competitors in quantity and quality in combat aviation. He alleged that Russian air defense systems are the only ones capable of successfully countering the country’s “own unique hypersonic weapons.”
According to the Deputy Prime Minister, Russia has developed several new air defense systems that surpass foreign counterparts.
Notable examples include the S-400 and S-500 long-range air defense/missile defense systems, the P-350 “Vityaz,” and the “Buk-M3,” “Tor-M2,” and “Pantsir-S” complexes.
The state-run media outlet, RIA Novosti, said that the Russian Federation is the only country with hypersonic missiles like the air-launched Kinzhal missile and the anti-ship hypersonic Zircon missile.
The claims put forward by the Russian Deputy Prime Minister are in direct contrast to recent assertions made by Ukraine, which claims to have successfully intercepted several Russian Kinzhal missiles using a donated Patriot air defense system.
On the other hand, Russian officials have previously alleged that the Kinzhal air-launched missile destroyed Kyiv’s American Patriot air defense system. At the time, the United States did admit that the air defense system sustained damage from a Russian strike, but the necessary repairs were completed within a few days.
Ukraine’s officials have noted the significance of the Patriot air defense system as the paramount tool for countering the imminent threat posed by Russian ballistic missiles.
Previously, Kyiv could not effectively intercept these missiles. However, integrating the Patriot system with other Western air-defense systems, alongside Ukraine’s Soviet-era weapons, has bolstered Kyiv’s ability to confront several threats.
This comprehensive air defense strategy has proven highly effective in mitigating a wide range of aerial threats targeting Kyiv, including ballistic and cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The conflict in Ukraine has served as a testing ground for a wide range of new weapons, including suicide drones and cyber jamming technologies.
Ukraine currently possesses two complete Patriot systems, one received from the United States and one from Germany. As per the Pentagon budget documents, each Patriot system carries an approximate price tag of $1 billion and takes two years to build.
Additionally, the interceptors utilized by the system can cost as much as $4 million each. Given the substantial cost and limited availability of the interceptors, Ukrainian operators are compelled to make judicious decisions regarding their usage.
The Ukrainian President has repeatedly expressed the need for more Patriot systems to safeguard critical infrastructure, protect civilians in cities throughout the country, and enhance the defense of front-line troops who face the threat of Russia’s superior air power.
Raytheon Technologies, the primary contractor for the Patriot air defense system, has ramped up its production capacity to deliver 12 systems annually.
In line with this increased production, the company has plans to supply Ukraine with an additional five Patriot systems by the end of the next year.
According to Greg Hayes, the Chief Executive of Raytheon, the Patriot air defense systems and other air defense systems deployed by Kyiv have achieved an impressive interception rate of approximately 90% against incoming attacks from Russia.
Hayes explained that Ukraine had made software modifications to the Patriot air defense system, allowing it to track and neutralize hypersonic missiles that travel at double the speed for which the system was originally designed.
Following the deployment of the Patriot air defense system, Ukrainians quickly realized its superiority over their outdated Soviet-era systems.
However, Russia’s relentless missile attacks continue to pose a significant threat to Ukrainian cities, leading to a demand for more Patriot systems to improve Ukraine’s defense capabilities.