Patriot Missile System Explainer

German soldiers fire a Patriot weapons system at a NATO base in Greece in 2017. Patriot missile systems have long been a hot ticket item for the U.S. and allies in contested areas of the world as a coveted shield against incoming missiles. Sebastian Apel/U.S. Department of Defense via Associated Press

The Pentagon is planning to bring Ukrainian troops to the United States for training on the Patriot missile defense system, a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the development said Tuesday.

The training will occur at Fort Sill, which spans about 145 square miles southwest of Oklahoma City, and could begin as soon as this month, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the plan ahead of a formal announcement. The base is home to both basic Patriot missile defense training and field artillery training for U.S. troops.

The move follows President Biden’s decision last month to approve sending a Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine to bolster Kyiv’s defenses against an onslaught of Russian missiles. Germany last week announced that it, too, would send a Patriot battery to Ukraine.

Pentagon officials declined Tuesday morning to discuss the plan. But a senior Pentagon official, Laura Cooper, said last week that training will begin in January and take several months.

“Patriot is not an immediate-term capability,” said Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of defense. “But we will start that training very soon.”

A Pentagon spokesman, Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, said last week that details were still being worked out.

“I can tell you that we’re exploring a variety of options to include potential training here in the U.S., overseas or a combination of both,” he said.

The planned training at Fort Sill was first reported by CNN.

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