Britain is ready to step up its support for the Ukrainian military with the supply of ultra-long-range Shadow Storm cruise missiles.
The Defense Ministry announced the transfer on Thursday to bolster kyiv’s forces in the event of a Russian counteroffensive in the spring.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace did not say how many of the UK’s 700-1,000 missiles would be sent. The rockets are believed to cost £2 million each and the announcement came hours after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky called for more Western aid as his country pushes to defeat Russia by the end of the year.
A department statement on Friday said: “Since Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, bilateral military assistance has intensified, with many allies supplying Ukraine with lethal weapons for the first time.”
The UK has committed £4.6bn on weapons, second in the world behind the US ($37.6bn), and is also running a training program aiming to train 30,000 members of the new and existing Ukrainian staff by the end of 2023.
The cruise missile announcement is the latest that Britain has pledged to support Ukraine as the war continues. This is what has happened so far. All information was taken from the Ministry of Defense (MOD) and was correct as of May 12.
Six hundred Brimstone anti-tank missiles were promised as part of a package in January 2023, and as of the end of March, the total number of such weapons was 3,615.
It is a mix of next-generation light anti-tank weapons, which have a range of up to 600 meters and weigh just 12.5 kilograms, and Javelin anti-tank missiles, which have twice the range but are twice as heavy.
Brimstone 1 missiles are typically used to fire at tanks, artillery units and landing craft and are typically fired from aircraft, although in Ukraine they are fired from modified trucks.
At the NATO and G7 leaders’ meeting on March 24, Rishi Sunak announced that another 6,000 defensive missiles would be provided, including the Starstreak air defense system, which had been under consideration. These are semi-automatic anti-aircraft missiles that travel at more than three times the speed of sound (3,100 mph).
Thus, the amount of defensive lethal assistance provided would more than double to exceed 10,000 missiles.
As part of this latest assistance package, another 18 howitzer artillery guns and hundreds of additional aerial drones will also be donated.
armored fighting vehicles
Following a visit to kyiv by the prime minister, Downing Street also confirmed on April 9 that the UK would provide Ukraine with 120 armored vehicles and new Harpoon anti-ship missile systems. In late April, he followed up with the gift of several “Stormer” armored vehicles equipped with anti-aircraft missile launchers.
Anti-structure munitions were also included in the January 2023 package. These are shoulder-launched weapons capable of destroying buildings or bunkers.
M270 Long Range Multiple Launch Rocket Systems
In June 2022, the MOD confirmed that it would provide Ukraine with three M270 multiple launch rocket systems and associated munitions. The M270 can engage targets up to 80 km away with precision and is expected to offer a significant increase in the capability of Ukrainian forces.
In April, the Defense Ministry confirmed that the UK is ready to supply more than 300,000 artillery shells to Ukraine during 2023.
On January 14, the United Kingdom became one of the first allies to announce that it would hand over the main battle tanks to Ukraine. Described as “the beginning of a gear change in UK support”, a squadron of 14 Challenger II tanks, thousands of rounds of ammunition and associated armored recovery and repair vehicles are due to be sent to Ukraine in the coming weeks.
In addition, hundreds of additional armored vehicles have been promised, including the Bulldog armored personnel carrier.
Also used are the 12.7 ton tracked Stormer HVM tanks used as mobile firing platforms for Starstreak missiles.
self propelled artillery
As part of the January 2023 announcements, which the MoD called “the most significant combat power package to date”, 30 AS-90 self-propelled guns were promised.
In May, the government announced that it would provide Ukraine with Storm Shadow missiles, which are a long-range precision strike capability. The UK is the first country to provide Ukraine with missiles with a range sufficient to strike targets anywhere in the country.
Anti-armor light weapons
The Defense Ministry confirmed in January that, in addition to existing support, the UK would provide a new security assistance package “to increase Ukraine’s defensive capabilities”, including the provision of anti-armor light weapons.
air defense systems
Last October, the MOD confirmed that it would donate hundreds more air defense missiles to Ukraine to guard against Russian missile attacks and to protect critical national infrastructure after Russia launched a series of missile and drone strikes against civilian targets. Seventy will be AMRAAM rockets, for use with the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) provided by the United States. The AMRAAM rockets are the first UK-promised capability capable of shooting down cruise missiles.
As part of this latest assistance package, another 18 howitzer artillery guns and hundreds of additional aerial drones will also be donated. During a visit to kyiv on November 19, the prime minister announced “an important new package” of support for air defense. The UK will provide 125 anti-aircraft guns and anti-drone technology, including radar and anti-drone electronic warfare capability.
The UK has also provided more than 200,000 non-lethal aid items, including unmanned aerial systems, body armor, helmets, night vision equipment, mine detection equipment, medical equipment and winter clothing.
In November 2022, the MOD confirmed that the first of three retired Sea King search and rescue helicopters had been delivered to Ukraine.
Drones are also being deployed to deliver medical supplies, food and ammunition to frontline troops when other means (manned) may prove too conspicuous and prone to attract Russian fire and therefore too dangerous.
These heavy-duty models can carry a 150-pound payload up to 43 miles, spending 36 minutes in the air any distance.