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WORLD NEWS | Ukrainian soldiers near completion of Patriot missile training

Streaks of light seen in California. (Image source: video capture)

Fort Sill (United States), March 22 (AP) – Several large 12-wheeled military vehicles carrying mobile missile launchers rumbled through the prairies of southwestern Oklahoma on Tuesday in Fort Sill. Part of an Army post training exercise.

Some of the 65 Ukrainian soldiers who had been training at the facility since January on how to track and shoot down enemy aircraft using defensive missile systems poured out of the sand-colored vehicles and quickly set up the launchers.

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U.S. military officials invited journalists from across the country and Europe, including the Associated Press, to watch the soldiers train.

Brig said the Patriot missile system, which has not yet been deployed in Ukraine, would be particularly useful in defending population centers and critical infrastructure. Fort Sill’s commander, General Sean Morgan.

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The soldiers are expected to leave Oklahoma in the next few days for additional training in Europe before deploying to Ukraine with a battery of Patriot missiles, which typically includes six mobile launchers, a mobile radar, a power generation machine and an engagement control center.

Military officials did not provide an exact timeline for when the missile batteries would be deployed to Ukraine. But a Pentagon spokesman said that would happen sooner than initially planned.

“For operational safety reasons, I won’t go into the delivery timeline, just to say we’re confident we’ll be able to get the Patriots there on the accelerated timeline, and I’ll leave it at that,” Air Commodore General Pat Ride said Tuesday. The Pentagon briefing said.

Colonel Martin O’Donnell, a spokesman for the U.S. Army in Germany, said the newly trained Ukrainian troops would be deployed “in alliance with other Ukrainian air defense forces” in Europe, using Patriot equipment donated by the U.S., the Netherlands and Germany, and then deployed “in” to Ukraine. the next few weeks. “

While Army officials acknowledged they faced initial challenges in overcoming the language barrier, Morgan said Ukrainian soldiers were quick learners and were handpicked for their air defense experience.

“Our assessment is that the Ukrainian soldiers are impressive and definitely a quick learner because of their extensive knowledge of air defense and experience in theater,” Morgan said. “It was easier for them to grasp the concepts of operation and maintenance of the Patriot system, but it was far from easy.”

O’Donnell added that training Ukrainian soldiers is part of a larger international effort involving more than 50 countries that provide security assistance to Ukraine.

U.S. Army soldiers training Ukrainians at Fort Sill said they were amazed at how quickly visiting soldiers grasped concepts and learned how to operate equipment. Many soldiers had previously used older Soviet-made S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile systems.

One trainer, who the AP agreed to remain anonymous for safety reasons, said he learned how resourceful the Ukrainians were when a coolant leaked from one of their cars early in training.

Repairs that typically required submitting a formal request and waiting days were completed in about 20 minutes.

“It shows their ability to adapt to the situation,” said the trainer. “In Ukraine, they won’t have a good day. They may only have a few minutes.”

Although Ukrainian soldiers were confined to military facilities during the 10-week training program, they were given the same privileges as other visiting soldiers, including access to shops, entertainment venues and restaurants within the facilities. One instructor said they especially enjoyed eating Taco Bell’s tacos on the post.

“A lot of them had never had a taco before,” he said.

But another coach said the Ukrainians’ visit to Fort Sill underscored a deadly seriousness that was evident when they held a commemorative vigil for the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion.

“That was the hardest part for me,” he said. “Some of them lost loved ones in the war.” (AP)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)

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