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CNN: US confident in Ukraine's claim it used Patriot system to down hypersonic missile
The U.S. has "high confidence" in the accuracy of Ukraine’s claim that it used a Patriot air defense system to intercept a Russian Kh-47 Kinzhal ballistic missile, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.
"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," CNN said, adding that 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.
The Air Force reported that a Patriot air defense system was used to destroy the ballistic missile over Kyiv Oblast that Russia launched from MiG-31K in its territory at around 2:30 a.m. on May 4. The military leadership decided not to publish information about the downing of the missile due to "quite obvious" reasons.
The source said Ukraine’s intercept claim created buzz within the Pentagon late last week.
This was significant for several reasons:
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has boasted the capabilities of Russia’s hypersonic weapons and cast them as capable of overcoming all existing air defense systems. However, production of hypersonic ballistic missiles has been challenging for Russia.
"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 reportedly said, 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, according to the source.