The Pentagon announced the training project for 65 soldiers handpicked by Kyiv in January, the Politico news service has reported.
US officials said at the time that learning to operate the Patriot missile defence system “could take months,” even up to a year, Poland’s komputerswiat.pl website reported.
However, after arriving at Fort Sill in January, the Ukrainian trainees, who are experienced air defenders aged 19 to 67 and include a few women, “mastered the American system” in two months, “much faster than expected,” US Army officers told Politico.
In just a few weeks, the Ukrainian troops learned how to “independently set up and operate the system against a simulated threat in under 45 minutes, which is the US Army’s standard,” komputerswiat.pl reported.
Now they practice this move “two or three times a day” to cultivate their skills before heading back to Europe, a US trainer said.
Ukrainian air defence troops 'are the best of the best’: US general
Brig. Gen. Shane Morgan, the Fort Sill commander, was impressed by how fast the Ukrainians mastered the Patriot system.
He said: “The Ukrainian soldiers are impressive, and absolutely a quick study. Due to their extensive air defense knowledge and experience in a combat zone, it was easier — though it’s never easy — for them to grasp the Patriot system.”
Morgan added: “They are the best of the best in what they do in air defense for Ukraine.”
The Ukrainian trainees had only one request: to add more soup options to the menu at the Fort Sill barracks, komputerswiat.pl reported.
“They like soup. They’re very, you know, soup-centric. So we added some soup to the meals that they received,” the senior Fort Sill official told Politico.
The Patriot system, regarded as one of the most advanced weapons of its type in the world, will help Ukraine protect cities and critical infrastructure from Russian drones, aircraft and cruise and ballistic missiles, officials said.
US to speed up delivery of Patriots, Abrams tanks to Ukraine
Meanwhile, US defence officials said on Tuesday that American Patriot missile defence systems and Abrams tanks would be deployed to Ukraine faster than originally planned, CNN reported.
The decision to speed up the supply of tanks and Patriots comes as Kyiv is preparing to launch a spring offensive against the Russian army, based mainly on the more powerful and advanced systems Western countries have agreed to provide, including tanks and other armoured vehicles, according to CNN.
Thursday is day 393 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Source: komputerswiat.pl, Politico, CNN