The United Kingdom sent additional weapons to Ukraine to speed up their victory and strengthen their arms defense against Russia. They will send over €1 billion worth ($1.2 billion) of military aid over to Ukraine since the start of this disruptive conflict. Aside from the additional ammunition, the UK is also set to train Ukrainian troops on using these high-end munitions.
Here are the top six weapons that the Brits have sent to the frontline Ukrainian troops and are making a difference.
#1. M270 multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS)
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed that they sent a couple of M270 MLRS over Ukraine in early June, together with the M31A1 guided missiles.
An M270 MLRS has a range of 80 km with a rate of fire of 12 rounds per minute and a speed of 64 km/h. It also weighs 25 tonnes, which means it needs at least three crews to operate.
Jack Watling of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) said that these long-range rockets are “precisely what Ukraine needs,” as it allows the defensive to strike out-of-range Russian artillery systems.
#2. Next Generation Light Anti-tank Weapons (Nlaw)
#Ukraine: Reportedly a Russian T-72B tank was destroyed today by Ukrainian troops in #Donetsk Oblast using a UK-supplied NLAW. pic.twitter.com/eIDoBmFXq6 — 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) July 16, 2022
The UK government has given the Ukrainian soldiers over 5,000 Nlaw.
These anti-tank weapons range from 20 to 800 meters and are specifically designed to destroy tanks at a short range. Each weighs about 12.5 kg and requires training to use this weapon and a crew with a precise line of sight to take down tanks with a single shot. Ukrainian troops will have a fighting chance of taking down some of the attacker’s heavy-duty artilleries through this munition.
#3. Brimstone 1 Missiles
‼️ 🇷🇺💥🇬🇧 The Russian army destroyed the installation of the latest NATO Brimstone missiles Ukrainian militants are launching British missiles from a truck disguised as a civilian. Russian troops detect the launch, after which the launcher is destroyed by artillery. pic.twitter.com/MoIMSQo6hS — AZ 🛰🌏🌍🌎 (@AZmilitary1) July 10, 2022
Ukraine received hundreds of Brimstone 1 missiles in late April, Britain Defense Minister James Heappey said. This short-range missile has warhead weight of about 6.3 kg and can reach up to 20 km at a maximum speed of around 1,600 km/h (Mach 1.3). Originally intended for “fire-and-forget” use, Brimstone 1 missiles require a millimeter wave active radar seeker to ensure accuracy against moving targets such as tanks, artillery, boats, and landing aircraft.
Moreover, the munition is usually operated using aircraft. Still, Ukraine modified its flight and opted for trucks instead, which “reduces its range accuracy effectiveness,” Captain Chris Carlson, a former US Navy missile expert, explained.
#4. Mastiff Armored Vehicles
Ukrainian Marines & UK Mastiff armored vehicles. Let’s win this war together! 🇺🇦🤝🇬🇧#StandWithUkraine Video by the Ukrainian Navy Command pic.twitter.com/GZcE5rvn2d — Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) July 10, 2022
The British army has donated 120 Mastiff armored vehicles, a six-wheel-drive patrol vehicle that can fit two to eight troops. With a max speed of 105 km/h and a range of 960 km, this armored vehicle is suitable for road patrols and convoys and is armed with heavy machine guns or automatic grenade launchers. It is also best suited for traversing landmines as it is built for it.
The Mastiff rose to prominence among British troops in Afghanistan because of its high-level protection and improvised explosive devices, which is especially useful in heavily mined areas such as the Donbas (located in southeastern Ukraine).
#5. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
Aside from ammunition, the UK Ministry of Defense is also supplying the war-affected country with “dozens” of heavy-lift unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems that would serve as logistical support to isolated forces.
The Malloy T150 heavy lift drone can carry a max load of 68 kg of supplies, including but not limited to medical, food, and ammunition supplies. It has a range of 70 km and an estimated flight time of 36 minutes. The advent of technology makes it less risky to send supplies to far-flung locations. Instead of a soldier making the dangerous supply trip, a squad can now replenish its supplies through drones controlled by one soldier using a laptop or tablet.
#6. Starstreak Missiles
Assisting in Ukraine’s air defense, the UK donated five air defense weapons, including Starstreak missiles. Designed to take down low-flying aircraft at a range of 7 km, these missiles weigh around 14 kg with a max speed of about 4,900 km/h (Mach 4). Using a semi-automatic guidance system, a star streak missile cannot be stopped by countermeasures such as flares and chaff once it’s launched to its locked target.
However, unlike the Nlaw, training for a Starstreak would take more than a day, and it cannot replace long-range air defense systems.
Stormer vehicles, which “act as mobile platforms for Starstreak missiles,” are another aerial defense system supplied by the UK to Ukraine. The Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) can fit two plus twelve troops and go at a speed of 90 km/h.
Aside from the six significant munitions, the UK also sent other more military equipment, including over 200 Javelin anti-tank missiles; 1,360 anti-structure munitions; 4.5 tonnes of plastic explosives; over 400,000 rounds of small-arms munitions; over 200,000 pieces of non-lethal aid, including helmets, body armor, rangefinders, and medical equipment; Electronic warfare equipment; Counter battery radar systems; GPS jamming equipment; Thousands of night vision devices; and Dozens of heavy lift UAV systems to provide logistical support to isolated forces.
Military aid from international countries such as the UK and the United States undoubtedly contributed a significant help in speeding up the Ukrainian troops’ victory against Russia, a country known for possessing some of the world’s most powerful and deadly weapons. According to the US Department of Defense, the US has committed approximately $7.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since July 1.