Dutch Patriot missile unit arrives in Slovakia for NATO defense after convoy collision
The Dutch Patriot unit that is helping to strengthen air defenses in Slovakia arrived at its destination around midnight, according to the Ministry of Defense. Two other convoys had already arrived on Saturday evening. The unit will now prepare the Patriots as soon as possible.
One of the three convoys was involved in a pile-up on Saturday morning in the Czech Republic. Five vehicles from the convoy collided with each other due to the poor visibility and slippery road. No injuries were reported.
Four cars were so damaged that they can no longer be used immediately. Defense will send replacement equipment from the Netherlands. According to the ministry, the accident does not affect the planned deployment of the unit to reinforce the eastern flank of the NATO area, because no missile launch systems were involved.
The air defense system is accompanied by 150 support personnel. The unit will remain in Slovakia for six months. The Netherlands will join forces with Germany to strengthen the country's air defenses. The U.S. announced late last week that it would also send a Patriot unit to Slovakia after the government in Bratislava gave its Russian S-300 air defense system to Ukraine.
With a Patriot missile, ballistic missiles, helicopters and airplanes can be shot out of the sky. A Patriot system consists of a radar, a fire control center and multiple missile launch systems. The Netherlands has had the Patriots since 1987 and has previously deployed them in Israel and Turkey.
Reporting by ANP