Ukrainian troops have arrived at Fort Sill, Okla., and started training on the Patriot missile system, the Pentagon’s top spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.
“Training has begun … that training will last for several months and train upwards of 90 to 100 Ukrainians on use of the Patriot missile system,” press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters.
Fort Sill — home to the Fires Center of Excellence and Patriot training for U.S. troops and forces from other countries — a day earlier announced that the Ukrainian troops had arrived at the Army base.
“The same instructors who teach U.S., allied and partner nations will conduct the Ukrainian training, and these classes will not detract from the ongoing training missions at Fort Sill,” according to a statement from the base.
Ryder last week said that training on the advanced long-range air defense system is expected to take “several months.” Patriot instruction typically takes up to a year, but defense officials are aiming to speed up the timeline for the Ukrainians.
“We recognize … that the longer those troops are off the line, they’re not actually engaged in combat, and so [we’re] trying to work with the Ukrainians to see what we can do to accelerate the training timeline,” he said at the time.
Ryder said there are no current plans to bring further groups of Ukrainian troops to the United States for such training, but the Pentagon is open to the idea if needed.
The start of Patriot training in Oklahoma coincides with the kickoff of an expanded U.S. training program for Ukrainian troops in Germany.
More than 600 Ukrainian troops began the combined arms instruction on Monday in the Grafenwoehr training area. The program is meant to better prepare Kyiv’s forces to conduct an offensive against Russia, or counter its attacks, according to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, who visited the operation on Tuesday.