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Israel to replace Patriot with more advanced air defense systems

Israel to replace Patriot with more advanced air defense systems Photo: Patriot air defense system (Getty Images)

The Israeli Air Force plans to bid farewell to its aging Patriot surface-to-air missile systems. In the coming months, the batteries will be replaced with more advanced air defense systems, reports The Times of Israel.

According to The Times of Israel, in February, the Israeli army announced that it was in the process of shutting down several Patriot systems. The complexes will be finally deactivated within two months.

The retired Patriot batteries will be replaced with more advanced air defense systems, including the David’s Sling and the well-known Iron Dome.

Patriot batteries successfully intercepted some Scud missiles launched from Iraq towards Israel during the Gulf War in 1991. The American-made system officially entered service in Israel that same year but achieved its first interception only in 2014, shooting down a Hamas drone launched from the Gaza Strip.

Over the next decade, the system intercepted only about 10 targets, including Syrian aircraft that violated Israel's airspace in 2014 and 2018.

Against the backdrop of the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip, Patriot has been used several times, although in most cases, interceptions were triggered by mistaken identifications. Now, this system will be replaced by more advanced air defense systems.

At the lowest level of the Israeli multi-layered air defense system is the Iron Dome, with a small operational radius, which since 2011 has intercepted tens of thousands of rockets, mortars, and drones launched towards Israel.

The intermediate level is represented by David’s Sling system, designed to intercept medium-range projectiles.

The most long-range systems are the Arrow systems, intended for intercepting large ballistic missiles.

The Times of Israel emphasizes that "it is unclear what will happen with the Patriot batteries, which are highly sought by Ukraine as it seeks to defend its skies against Russian missiles."

Ukraine needs Patriot air defense systems

Ukraine's need for additional air defense systems has intensified following renewed strikes by Russia on energy facilities.

As President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated, to fully protect Ukrainian airspace, approximately 25 Patriot systems are required, which could be provided by partner countries.

Furthermore, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced that Ukraine has identified 100 available Patriots, seven of which could be transferred by partners to protect Ukrainian skies.

Germany was the first to agree to assist Ukraine by announcing the transfer of an additional Patriot system.

Later, Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles announced that her country would provide Ukraine with Patriot missiles in the next military aid package.