Which weapons have been sent to Ukraine by the UK?

The Ministry of Defence has been supplying thousands of weapons to Ukraine as it battles Russia’s invasion.

Henry Jones
Wednesday 23 March 2022 15:37 GMT
A Starstreak surface-to-air missile system is being provided to Ukrain (UK MoD Crown copyright/PA)
A Starstreak surface-to-air missile system is being provided to Ukrain (UK MoD Crown copyright/PA) (PA Media)

The Ukrainian ambassador to the UK has said the country’s military is running out of long-range anti-tank weaponry.

Speaking to Sky News on Wednesday, Vadym Prystaiko said soldiers “need to have something with a much greater distance” as Russia continues its attack on the country.

The United Kingdom has supplied a range of weapons to Ukraine, and has also deployed a missile system to Poland.

What are these weapons, what exactly do they do, and can the UK do more?

– What has the UK sent to Ukraine?

NLAW and Javelin anti-tank missiles, and Starstreak anti-air missiles, are all being provided to Ukraine.

The UK has so far supplied more than 4,000 NLAW anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, as well as a small number of Javelin missiles.

An NLAW anti-tank missile being fired during training (UK MOD Crown copyright/PA)
An NLAW anti-tank missile being fired during training (UK MOD Crown copyright/PA) (PA Media)

– What do these weapons do?

Both NLAWs and Javelins are shoulder-mounted missile systems designed to destroy tanks on the battlefield, but they also have some key differences.

Made by the Swedish company Saab, NLAWs have a range of up to 600 metres and weigh just 12.5 kilograms.

The missile can destroy “any main battle tank in just one shot by striking it from above”, according to the British Army.

Unlike the NLAW, which uses a simple sight to aim, the Javelin uses a heat-seeking system to guide itself on to the target. It has a longer range than the NLAW, at up to 2,500 metres.

Starstreak meanwhile is an anti-air missile and travels at more than three times the speed of sound. It can be shoulder-mounted, attached to a vehicle, or fired from a ground launcher.

The missile is designed to target very high performance, low-flying aircraft.

The UK will be training the Ukrainian military to use this system, however the Ministry of Defence has said it will not disclose where such training is taking place.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

– Is there anything else the UK has sent Ukraine’s military?

In addition to weapons, the Ministry of Defence has supplied approximately 3,000 sets of body armour, 2,000 helmets and 4,000 boots to Ukraine.

Thousands of ear defenders and sleeping mats have also been sent.

– Which weapons are being sent to Poland?

Sky Sabre, a long-range air defence system, is being deployed to Poland, alongside approximately 100 British military personnel.

The Army says it can hit a tennis ball-sized object travelling at several times the speed of sound.

The system is comprised of three different elements, including a radar, with a range of up to 120km, which tracks targets.

A separate command and control centre then links these targets to the Land Ceptor missiles, which, travelling at up 2,300mph, can destroy fighter jets, drones, and even bombs in flight.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

– What else can be done?

For the Ministry of Defence, support is not as simple as just sending weapons, systems, and equipment to Ukraine.

The Ukrainian military needs to be trained to use whatever is supplied by the UK. Prior to Russia’s invasion, hundreds of British troops were in Ukraine training the country’s soldiers, but they have now left.

With Russia’s invasion ongoing, efforts to supply Ukraine with any new types of weapon will need to be matched with training and tuition in how to use it.

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