Lack of Air Defense ammunition sees Russian missile success rate skyrocket

Patriot air defense system
Patriot air defense system

The effectiveness of Russian missile strikes on Ukraine has seen a dramatic spike recently as Ukraine's ammunition for its air defense systems dwindled due to delay in aid, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Ukraine has managed to intercept less than half (46%) of Russian missile strikes over the last six months, compared to nearly three in four (73%) before that, WSJ said, citing Ukrainian Air Force reports.

More concerningly, Ukraine managed to intercept just 30% of Russian air strikes in April.

The interception rate of Russian drones remained virtually unchanged in the same period, falling a single percentage point to 82%, WSJ reported.

Russia has ramped up its shelling and used more ballistic missiles to take advantage of Ukraine's lack of ammunition for its Patriot air defense systems.

<span class="copyright">WSJ</span>

The Air Force has been providing incomplete data on Russian attacks and interception rates recently, likely for "propaganda purposes," the WSJ claimed.

Russia has produced approximately 45% more drones and missiles over the past six months than the previous six months, including nearly twice as many Shahed drones (2,628).

Russia often uses the cheaply produced drones to test air defenses before launching its multi-million-dollar missiles.

Russia fired 114 ballistic missiles and 46 Kinzhal and Zircon hypersonic missiles over the past six months, up from 33 ballistic and 27 hypersonic missiles over the previous six months.

Moscow has also repurposed air defense systems to attack Ukraine, firing 175 missiles with S-300 or S-400 air defense systems this year alone, the WSJ wrote.

Ukraine managed to shoot down only 10% of Russia-launched ballistic missiles over the last six months.

No S-300 and S-400 missiles were intercepted over this period.

<span class="copyright">WSJ</span>

"The next two months will be crucial to whether the Russian air force can be kept at bay until new Western air defense supplies arrive in Ukraine," a European military intelligence official said.

Only Patriot systems can protect Ukrainian skies from Russian ballistic missiles, but right now Kyiv is experiencing an ammunition shortage for these systems due to the delay with the U.S. aid bill.

Other Air Defense systems, including NASAMS and Iris/T, are often used to attack rather than to defend, the publication noted.

Moscow is still capable of producing 170 missiles per month and also receives missiles and UAVs from its allies, including Iran and North Korea.

Read also:

Additional Patriot systems for Ukraine

Western partners do not want to give Ukraine even “five or seven” Patriots, although they have more than 100, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on April 3.

25 Patriot systems or their equivalents are needed to fully protect Ukrainian airspace from Russian attacks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on April 6.

The U.S. House of Representatives finally voted in favor of a bill that provides more than $60 billion in support for Ukraine on April 20.

U.S. President Joe Biden signed the bill on April 24.

The USA is negotiating with countries with Patriot systems about their transfer to Ukraine, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said on April 30.

Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles confirmed on May 6 that missiles for Patriot air defense systems provided by Madrid and its allies have been delivered to Ukraine.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine