Patriot Leaves Skeptics Wordless, Russians Embarassed, and Kiev Littered With Pieces of Putin's Wonder Weapons

Patriot Launch Units. CREDIT: Public Domain Image

Monday night, the Russian armed forces launched an unprecedented missile attack against the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. At least 18 state-of-the-art Russian missiles were used in the attack. Six Kh-47 hypersonic missiles were launched from MiG-31K aircraft, surface combatants from the Black Sea Fleet fired nine Kalibr cruise missiles, and land forces in Occupied Ukraine launched three Iskander-M semi-ballistic missiles. This attack was supported by six Iranian-designed Shahed 136 suicide drones and three Orlan-10 reconnaissance drones to evaluate the operation.


Defending against the attack was a layered air defense system built around the recently arrived Patriot surface-to-air missile system. The final box score showed a perfect game for the Ukrainians with all Russian missiles destroyed…or maybe not.

Usually, attacks of this magnitude target several different Ukrainian cities. As far as I can tell, this is the first time any Ukrainian city has been hit with a strike using this number of top-of-the-line weapons. Why is that? We can’t know for sure, but I think we have enough information to make an informed guess.

On May 5, Kiev was again under missile attack. This marked the first missile attack on the capital since Patriot missiles arrived in Ukraine. The Patriot’s first appearance in combat in Ukraine resulted in a clean sweep for the defenders. In this case, the Russians used a single missile, the hypersonic Kh-47; see Ukraine Confirms a US-Supplied Patriot Air Defense System Shot Down a Russian Hypersonic Missile.

Patriot intercepting a Kh-47 sent out a few shock waves.

The Russians have used the Kh-47 to strike targets in Ukraine since March 2022. Best estimates indicate they’ve fired less than 20 of them.

The Kh-47 was introduced to the world by Vladimir Putin on March 1, 2018, back when people still paid attention to what he said. This article by The Drive details the six classes of weapons that Putin claimed would keep Russia in the front rank of military powers.

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Missile Threat project, this weapon was designed to defeat the US Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. THAAD is designed to intercept anything short of an intercontinental ballistic missile in terminal phase.


We have a Russian “Чудо-оружие” aka wunderwaffen, which Vladimir Putin claimed gave Russia an edge in any conflict with NATO. The weapon was designed to defeat the most capable US air defense system. Patriot was not supposed to be able to defeat hypersonic weapons.

In my opinion, the Russians staged the attack last night using a sample of its best strike weapons to overwhelm the Patriot batteries around Kiev, put them out of action, and restore Russia’s reputation. Keep in mind that Patriot has never faced a large number of sophisticated weapons in a single attack. One could reasonably write off the successful May 5 interception to chance.

The Russian government did what it does best: lie about the affair. They claim it is impossible to shoot down a Kh-47, so, despite the pieces littering Kiev parks, it didn’t happen. So naturally, the regime’s fluffers picked up the story because nothing shows loyalty to Moscow like totally discrediting yourself.

The attack last night not only included six Kh-47 missiles, it included three Iskander-M semi-ballistic missiles, which are purported to be able to maneuver on their terminal trajectory.

When the dust cleared, it appeared that Patriot had performed magnificently. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry claimed all missiles and drones were shot down. There were no missile hits on targets in Kiev, but debris from successful interceptions did cause some property damage.


Then the Russian PR machine jumped into action.

Russia claims it has destroyed Patriot air defence system

Russia’s defence ministry has said it has destroyed a US-built Patriot surface-to-air missile defence system overnight with a hypersonic Kinzhal missile attack on Ukraine, the Zvezda military news outlet reports.

It quoted the ministry as saying the overnight strikes had also been aimed at Ukrainian fighting units and ammunition storage sites, Reuters reported.

Ukraine said earlier that it had shot down 18 Russian missiles overnight, including an entire volley of six Kinzhals.

CNN’s Natasha “Fusion Natasha” Bertrand, who is best known for mainstreaming Fusion GPS’s Russia Hoax stories, got into the act

A US-made Patriot air defense system was likely damaged, but not destroyed, as the result of a Russian missile barrage in and around Kyiv early Tuesday morning local time, a US official tells CNN.

The US is still assessing to what degree the system was damaged, the official said. That will determine whether the system needs to be pulled back entirely or simply repaired on the spot by Ukrainians forces.

Ukrainian officials said on Tuesday that they successfully intercepted all six hypersonic missiles fired by the Russians, but the Ukrainian military declined to comment on the Russians’ claim that a Patriot system was hit. “We cannot comment on this. We’ll stay out of commenting on Russian sources,” said the Ukrainian Air Force spokesman, Yurii Ihnat.


National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby said he had no information on a Patriot system being damaged.

Most noticeably, the Russians backed off their “destroyed” claim, left their surrogates high-and-dry, and pushed CNN’s claim.

A US-made Patriot missile air defense system, shipped to Ukraine was damaged by a Russian strike, CNN reported Tuesday citing source in the US Administration, adding that the US is assessing the damage.

According to CNN, the missile system was damaged, not completely destroyed. After the damage is assessed, a decision will be made on whether the system could be repaired locally or will require transportation back to the US.

On Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that Russian forces hit a US-made Patriot system in Kiev with a Kinzhal hypersonic missile.

Was a Patriot missile launcher, radar, or command and control section destroyed? Probably not. Moscow wouldn’t have abandoned its “detroyed” narrative that quickly if they had any information of a direct hit on a Patriot component by a missile. Was some component damaged? If so, it would have been a function of a missile warhead landing somewhere near a Patriot component after an interception because a direct hit by any of the missiles shot at Kiev will not result in “damaged,” or post-interception missile debris hitting something.


The importance of last night’s performance can’t be overstated. For years the anti-American left that has opposed Ballistic Missile Defense ever since President Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” speech has claimed that Patriot doesn’t work and that an anti-missile system can’t hit either a hypersonic missile or a missile with some maneuverability. This is from the insufferable Jeffrey Lewis writing in Foreign Policy. Patriot Missiles Are Made in America and Fail Everywhere.

On March 25, Houthi forces in Yemen fired seven missiles at Riyadh. Saudi Arabia confirmed the launches and asserted that it successfully intercepted all seven.

This wasn’t true. It’s not just that falling debris in Riyadh killed at least one person and sent two more to the hospital. There’s no evidence that Saudi Arabia intercepted any missiles at all. And that raises uncomfortable questions not just about the Saudis, but about the United States, which seems to have sold them — and its own public — a lemon of a missile defense system.

But I am deeply skeptical that Patriot has ever intercepted a long-range ballistic missile in combat — at the least, I have yet to see convincing unclassified evidence of a successful Patriot intercept. During the 1991 Gulf War, the public was led to believe the that the Patriot had near-perfect performance, intercepting 45 of 47 Scud missiles. The U.S. Army later revised that estimate down to about 50 percent — and even then, it expressed “higher” confidence in only about one-quarter of the cases. A pesky Congressional Research Service employee noted that if the Army had correctly applied its own assessment methodology consistently, the number would be far lower. (Reportedly that number was one — as in one lousy Scud missile downed.)


Lewis’s Twitter account has been noticeably silent about the Kh-47 interceptions.

Last night should put to rest, for once and for all, the bullsh** slung by the “arms control” kibitzers who have made tenure and a lot of money chanting “you can’t hit a bullet with a bullet” for 40 years. It is apparent that Patriot is a viable system for defending a city against a variety of simultaneous missile attacks. Patriot’s performance demonstrates it has capabilities that haven’t been advertised and lead one to think that THAAD can do a lot that we don’t know about.

As I write this, another Russian missile attack is targeting Ukrainian cities. Kiev is not among them.


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