Hello, we often hear and read that missiles and drones launched by Russia were shot down by Ukraine’s air defenses. I’d like to know what the average values are for targets that vary so widely in speed, lethality, and cost. Thank you very much.
For Kyiv, the question of missile defense has become crucial since Russia decided on a strategy of massive strikes against Ukrainian infrastructure, including energy, and is now depriving millions of Ukrainians of water, electricity and heating on a daily basis.
Ukraine started the war with Soviet-era Ukrainian anti-aircraft batteries. Since then, its allies have equipped it with newer equipment: from the French Crotale to the Norwegian Nasams, through the German IRIS-T, the Italian Aspide 2000, the Hawk and soon the American Patriot. This array of anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems creates a “patchwork” defense: each of these systems has its own logic, with the consequence of specific training needs combined with problems of missile stock delivery and management.
In order to build the “anti-aircraft shield” demanded by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy from his Western allies, what the military calls a multi-layered surface-to-air defense must be put in place, covering both short-range attacks at low altitudes, those with medium-range attacks at medium altitudes and those with long range and high altitude. So these three layers must make it possible to protect Ukrainian strategic targets such as large cities, key infrastructures or power centers from ballistic missiles, cruise missiles or even drones.
The US-promised Patriot missiles, costing $3 million each, are capable of downing cruise missiles, short-range ballistic missiles and aircraft at much higher altitudes than the defense systems previously delivered.
In the first three months of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, at least 2,000 rockets fell on that country, estimates the British think tank Royal United Services Institute in a report published in early November.