Air defense missiles delivered as UK pledges support for Ukraine

As the expected winter barrage of Russian missiles and one-way attack munitions continues to affect Ukrainian cities, the UK has pledged to provide additional lethal assistance in 2024 beyond the range of land, sea and air systems already donated to Kiev.

During a call on 2 January between UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, it was reported that the UK would continue to support Ukraine throughout 2024 and beyond.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Sunak and Zelenskiy discussed a number of issues facing Ukraine, including the value of air defense capabilities “enhanced by surface-to-air missile systems” provided by the United Kingdom.

On 29 December 2023, the United Kingdom announced that it had begun the delivery of a new package of air defense systems to Ukraine. The UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the package of around 200 Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (ASRAAM) will re-supply UK-developed air defense systems provided to Ukraine in late 2022.

UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said the provision of additional air defense missiles sent an “unmistakable message” that the UK remains “absolutely committed” to supporting Ukraine.

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Manufactured in the UK by MBDA, the ASRAAM is designed to be launched from aircraft including the UK’s Typhoon and F-35 fighter jets. In the summer of 2022, a joint MoD-MBDA team deployed air defense systems to fire the ASRAAM from the ground for the first time.

ASRAAM on Typhoon
ASRAAM missiles, normally fitted to British Typhoon fighters, have been adapted for ground-based air defense systems. Credit: UK MoD/Crown copyright

Within four months of the start of the surface-launched ASRAAM project, these air defense systems were developed, manufactured, tested and Ukrainian crews trained in their use, on British soil, before being transferred into Ukrainian hands, according to the UK Foreign Office .

The UK Foreign Office has claimed that the ASRAAM systems delivered to Ukraine have a 90% success rate “against some Russian air targets”.

UK support to Ukraine to reach £4.6bn by end of 23/24

Other key capabilities provided by the UK to Ukraine include a squadron of Challenger 2 main battle tanks, three batteries of AS90 self-propelled guns, M270 multiple launch missile systems, hundreds of armored and protected vehicles, and a long-range precision fire capability. in his form Storm Shadow cruise missiles and long-range attack drones.

The UK has also provided an extensive military training program for Ukraine’s armed forces through Operational Interflex, with more than 53,000 service personnel having gone through various courses since 2014. The UK plans to train an additional 10,000 Ukrainian recruits in the first half of 2024. .

Official UK military support to Ukraine has received a total commitment of £4.6 billion ($5.8 billion), with £2.3 billion earmarked for FY23/24 until the end of the current financial year.

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