Patriot missile battery heading to Slovakia amid Ukraine invasion response

The Army will send a Patriot missile battery to Slovakia, the Pentagon announced Friday, to backfill that country’s air defense capabilities.

The Slovakian government, in turn, has agreed to give its sole, Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air system to Ukraine to aid in targeting Russian aviation.

“We expect this battery and its crew to arrive in coming days,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement. “Their deployment length has not yet been fixed, as we continue to consult with the Slovakian government about more permanent air defense solutions.”

Along with the Patriot system comes a crew of about 100 U.S. soldiers, bringing the total U.S. troops mobilized to support NATO as Russia invades Ukraine to over 12,000. About 11,000 of those have deployed from the U.S., while the rest were already stationed in Europe.

“This is just another example of the strength of our Alliance, and how President Putin’s actions have brought about the very strengthening of NATO that he claimed he was trying to prevent,” Austin said. “Every step we take is intended to deter aggression and reassure our Allies.”

Other troops recently mobilized to Europe include:

  • 4,700 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division to Poland.
  • 300 soldiers from the XVIII Airborne Corps to Germany.
  • 1,000 soldiers from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment to Romania.
  • 800 soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team to Latvia.
  • 100 F-35 Lightning II aircrew and maintainers to Estonia, Lithuania and Romania.
  • 100 AH-64 Apache aircrew and maintainers to Poland and the Baltic states.
  • 3,800 soldiers from 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, and its sustainment unit to Germany.
  • 180 soldiers with two Patriot batteries to Poland.
  • 150 airmen from a KC-135 Stratotanker squadron to Spangdahlem, Germany.
  • 40 members of an Army air support operations unit to Romania and Poland.
  • 300 ordnance and maintenance soldiers to Germany.
  • 300 members of the Army’s V Corps to Germany and Poland.
  • 240 EA-18G Growler air crew and maintainers to Spangdahlem, Germany.
  • 200 Marines from an air traffic control unit to Lithuania.
  • 200 Marine C-130 Hercules and F/A-18 Hornet air crew and maintainers to Eastern Europe.

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members. Follow on Twitter @Meghann_MT

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