U.S. sure Patriot system in Ukraine shot down Russian hypersonic missile – CNN

U.S. sure Patriot system in Ukraine shot down Russian hypersonic missile – CNN

The United States has high confidence in the accuracy of Ukraine's claim that it used an American-made Patriot air defense system to intercept a Russian hypersonic missile several days ago, according to a source familiar with the matter. 

That's according to CNN, Ukrinform reports.

"While the Patriot system has been successful in countering ballistic missiles, its ability to stop air-launched hypersonic missiles was purely theoretical before last week," the media outlet said.

Ukraine's intercept has now provided a real-world demonstration of that capability — something that has been viewed within the Pentagon as a major development, the source said.

Read also: Second Patriot division already on combat duty - Air Force

Ukraine's intercept claim created buzz within the Pentagon late last week, the source added, noting it is significant for several reasons.

First and foremost, Putin's public statements that Russian hypersonic weapons are capable of overcoming any existing air defense systems have been refuted. Production of hypersonic ballistic missiles has always been challenging for Russia and sanctions have only made it more difficult.

In addition, according to CNN, prior to last week, Russia's calculus was that if it did use a hypersonic ballistic missile, whatever it was shooting at would assuredly get hit, the source said. This intercept has called that calculation into question, they continued.

At the same time, the fact that this intercept was conducted by a Ukrainian crew that was trained in Oklahoma, but had no U.S. advisers on the battlefield, is even more of a feather in the cap for the Pentagon, the source added, calling it a major return on investment.

The intercept also has likely caused a severe amount of uncertainty for Russia, raising the question of whether Ukraine is in possession of a sustainable countermeasure against hypersonic ballistic missiles, the source added.

The Ukrainian Air Force confirmed on May 6 that a Patriot air defense system of Ukraine's Air Command Center had destroyed a Kh-47 Kinzhal supersonic missile that was launched by a MiG-31K fighter jet from Russian territory.

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