A British anti-aircraft missile has been used to shoot down a Russian helicopter in Ukraine for the first time, according to a report.
The Starstreak high-velocity missile system was supplied to Ukraine by Britain in March along with a further shipment of Next Generation Light Anti-tank Weapons (NLAWs).
A Starstreak attack on a Russian aircraft in the Luhansk region that was caught on camera has been verified, The Times reported.
A Ministry of Defence source told the paper the video showed Starstreak being fired over Ukraine.
The source added that the anti-aircraft system had been used by Ukrainian forces for almost a week. Senior defence industry sources who examined the film also believe it was Starstreak, The Times said.
The Independent has asked the Ministry of Defence to confirm the report.
The Starstreak system is made by Thales. The firm describes the missiles as being “designed to provide close air defence against conventional air threats such as fixed wing fighters and late unmasking helicopter targets”.
The British Army said Starstreak is a “highly capable air defence weapon” that is particularly effective against helicopters.
Starstreak 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.
Ukraine was sent the shoulder-mounted variety, which the army said allowed for quicker deployment in the field.
The UK has provided Starstreaks, NLAWs and Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine. More than 4,000 NLAWs have been sent and there have been several reports of the Ukrainian army using them to destroy Russian tanks.
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