patriot launch pad
© Reuters/Inquam Photos/Ovidiu Micsik
US Army soldiers man a PATRIOT launch pad
Multiple Patriot launchers, Aegis destroyers and radars are guarding Saudi skies, but they failed to stop a massive strike on an oilfield because their actual properties aren't what the US advertises, a Russian Army source says.

Benefiting from the US arms deliveries, Saudi Arabia managed to build up "the most powerful air defense system in the region that provides full radar coverage," a high-ranking Russian military source stated on Thursday.

Nowadays, there are 88 Patriot launchers - 52 of which are the newest PAC-3 version - shielding Saudi Arabia's northern border, he said. In addition to that, three guided missile destroyers, armed with 100 SM-2 missiles, are traversing Persian Gulf waters off Saudi shores.

But their efficiency is questionable when it comes to real-life action, he said.
Patriot and Aegis air defense systems don't match their advertised properties - they are inefficient against small-size aerial targets and cruise missiles.
"They're simply unable to repel an enemy assault involving a massive use of airworthy weapons in real combat," he explained.

He spoke just as international media struggle to find out why the Kingdom's military could do nothing to stop an aerial attack on the Abqaiq petroleum facilities and Khurais oil field.

This Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tried to come up with an excuse for the failure, saying that "some of the finest in the world don't always pick things up." This would perhaps be plausible if only one Patriot launcher was online at the time of the attack, the source said.


Comment: This was in response to a journalist's question. Pompeo's reply was quite lame, to put it mildly:
How is it that, after spending "$80 million a year" on air defense, the Saudis weren't able to track "missiles that are crossing the Persian Gulf?" a journalist traveling with the secretary of state rudely asked on Wednesday.

"We've seen air defense systems all around the world have mixed success. Some of the finest in the world don't always pick things up," Pompeo replied, dunking on all of the haters with facts and logic.

He went on to suggest that Saudi Arabia simply doesn't have enough (US-made) "infrastructure" to stop such an attack, and that Washington will work with the Kingdom to alleviate this problem. Sounds expensive.
Expensive, and a total waste of money.


Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed credit for the devastating strike, saying that it came in response to the Saudi invasion of their country. The US and Saudi Arabia, however, singled out Iran as the main culprit - an accusation that Tehran fiercely denies.