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Israel Ditches American Patriot Systems in Favor of Domestic Air Defence

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Photo: Israel Ditches American Patriot Systems in Favor of Domestic Air Defence. Source: Bundeswehr
Photo: Israel Ditches American Patriot Systems in Favor of Domestic Air Defence. Source: Bundeswehr

Israel is abandoning American Patriot air defence systems in favour of its own domestically produced AD systems, including the Iron Dome, according to The Times of Israel, citing military sources.

The Israeli Air Force is currently disconnecting and deactivating Patriot systems, planning to fully phase them out in the next two months and retrain operators to work with the Iron Dome and other AD systems.

"We are currently in the process of reducing the number of batteries until the entire system is shut down," said the commander of the 138th AD battalion operating the Patriot.

While Patriot batteries operated by the U.S. were successfully used against Scud missiles launched from Iraq into Israel during the Gulf War in 1991, the system officially entered Israeli service that same year but achieved its first interception only in 2014, downing a Hamas drone launched from the Gaza Strip.

Over the past decade, the system designed to intercept aircraft has only intercepted around 10 targets, including Syrian fighters that violated Israeli airspace in 2014 and 2018. Israeli military representatives noted that Patriot systems were not always effective in downing multiple targets in the country's airspace.

However, it's worth noting that Patriot is primarily used against larger aerial threats like planes and missiles, whereas Israel typically faces smaller drones and homemade rockets, against which Patriot is less effective.

It remains unknown whether Israel will provide its old Patriot systems to Ukraine for air defence against Russian attacks post-decommissioning. There's a possibility that Israeli Patriots will be transferred to the U.S. or other countries and eventually make their way to Ukraine, which has a critical need for such AD systems.

Additionally, The Gaze reported that the CEO of Europe's largest ammunition manufacturer, Rheinmetall, is proposing to create a European version of the Israeli Iron Dome, as the EU grapples with an increasing Russian threat.

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