The U.K. Announces Large-Scale Military Aid for Ukraine
As reported by BBC, the aid was announced following a meeting between Rishi Sunak and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The aid includes ‘long-range missiles’, air defence systems, artillery shells and drones. £200 million of the aid is dedicated to drones.
What is meant by long-range missiles might be more Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missiles. Ukraine has used the missiles against Russia’s critical bases and infrastructure by launching them from modified Sukhoi Su-24 interdictor aircraft. French SCALP is another air-launched cruise missile integrated into the aircraft.
MGM-140 ATACMS tactical ballistic missile is another possibility. The U.K. is interested in the successor to MGM-140 ATACMS, a Lockheed Martin PrSM short-range ballistic missile capable of reaching longer ranges and allowing for more missiles per launcher. MGM-140 ATACMS missiles being phased out gradually in a manner that doesn’t waste missiles for the new PrSM might make sense in this regard.
The U.K. is among the main suppliers of air defence systems to Ukraine, alongside the U.S. and Germany. Air defence systems/missiles or weapons capable of performing air defence supplied to Ukraine by the U.K. include:
- Starstreak short-range SAM in shoulder-launched and tripoded configurations
- A shoulder-fired LMM/Martlet missile was used to shoot down a Russian Orlan-10 UAV, and the missile has a secondary capability against slow-flying air targets.
- Unnamed SAM system based on Supacat 6x6 vehicle developed for Ukraine, using a two-round launcher for AIM-132 ASRAAM IIR-guided air-to-air missiles
Ukraine’s active use of drones for various purposes in the war has led to new strategies and tactics to be developed in this area and ramped up production. Drones are primarily used for scouting, attacks against infantry and vehicles by either kamikaze or dropping munitions, and communications relays. Especially in 2023, Ukraine has rolled out a wide range of drone designs. The aid might support production and development efforts.