Without providing any evidence, anonymous sources are claiming that one third of the Patriot missiles produced annually are being destroyed in Ukraine. There are over 240 Patriot systems in 18 different countries in total (with Ukraine being the 19th), and thousands of missiles with different characteristics are produced for them. This sprint American defense companies have also signed additional contracts with the US Army for the production of Patriot missile systems components.
Various Kremlin media continue to spread disinformation about the Patriot missile defense systems delivered to Ukraine to help defend the country against the Russian onslaught of missile and drone attacks. Citing unnamed “Turkish sources,” former Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov (served in the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych administration) who fled to Russia in 2014 claims that “as a result of Russian strikes on Ukrainian air defense systems, the number of MIM-104 surface-to-air missiles launched and destroyed accounted for approximately one-third of the annual US production.”
Azarov’s claim quickly picked up traction in pro-Kremlin media outlets, it was repeated by Russian and pro-Russian experts, as well as dubious websites such as Military Watch, that have previously published disinformation. (The Media Bias Fact Check site gives the right wing Military Watch a questionable rating, based on the web site’s promotion of Russian propaganda and a lack of transparency regarding the ownership of the website.)
The Patriot surface-to-air missile system is manufactured by a group of American companies led by the defense contractor Raytheon Technologies. Russian propaganda claims that when a Russian Kinzhal missile was shot down earlier in May, Ukrainian air defenses launched 32 interceptor missiles from the Patriot system. If one was to believe Russian propaganda and its claim that “one-third of Patriot launched missiles were destroyed,” then that would mean that the US produces approximately one hundred MIM-104 missiles for Patriot systems each year. The actual numbers blow this Russian propagandist claim completely apart.
The Raytheon Missiles & Defense website states that the company has assembled and delivered over 240 Patriot fire units to 18 countries worldwide. A Patriot system consists of a command post, radar, and launcher units (up to 8 launcher units), each of which has 4 missile canisters of different types (ballistic and aerodynamic targets, such as aircraft and helicopters). Ukraine became the 19th country incorporating the Patriot missile system as part of its air defenses. Considering the number of systems deployed worldwide, producing only 100 missiles per year would be most illogical, highly unlikely and just plain bad business.
Ukraine has received two such systems, one from the United States and another from Germany and the Netherlands. According to Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) estimates, the cost of supplying Patriot missiles to Ukraine is approximately $400 million per system and $690 million for the missiles. Since the launch of a single Patriot missile is estimated to cost around $3 million, we are talking about several hundred such missiles for Ukraine (and this is only one of the military aid packages provided to Ukraine).
In spring of this year, Raytheon Missiles and Defense and Lockheed Martin announced new contracts with the US Army, in addition to the already existing ones. Therefore, the statement about “one-third of the annual production of Patriot missiles being destroyed,” is a complete fake.
Previously, StopFake debunked Russian propagandist claims that the “destroyed Patriot missile system” was supposedly being sold in parts and that the Patriot system is incapable of intercepting the Russian Kinzhal missile.