UK pledges to send 200 more Brimstone anti-tank missiles to Ukraine

UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps pledged to send 200 Brimstone anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainian Armed Forces during a speech to the House of Commons on 22 February 2024, ahead of the two-year anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. of Russia. of Ukraine.

The Brimstone is a precision attack missile built by European missile specialist, MBDAalongside the American company, Boeing, as a subcontractor. The light impact missile has a length of 1.8 meters, a diameter of 180 millimeters and a weight of 50 kilograms.

It is equipped with a dual-mode wave/semi-active laser (mmW/SAL) seeker that enables it to engage fast-moving vehicles or ships on land and at sea in both direct and indirect modes of operation.

The UK Royal Air Force currently uses the missile as a low-coupling air-to-ground strike capability. The rocket was developed for the first time from the service in 2019 at the height of the conflict against Daesh.

That same year, at the Defense and Security Equipment International Exhibition, MBDA presented one adjustment of the missile for unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), such as Milrem Robotics’ THEMIS UGV.

In September last year, the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) launched Project Wolfram: a little-known program to develop a mobile anti-armor variant of the Brimstone, of which firing tests were said to begin in the second quarter of 2024. This initiative is being developed alongside industrial suppliers MBDA UK and UK land systems manufacturer, Supacat.

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Wolfram is believed to have been motivated by Ukraine’s success with British-supplied Brimstone missiles. Around mid-May 2023, images on social media showed Ukrainian forces using the missile, launched from a flat-bed vehicle, at Russian targets.

Referring to Ukraine’s previous success with the Brimstone, Shapps noted that the weapon forced “Russian forces to abandon and retreat from an attempted river crossing.”

In support of this boost in equipment, Shapps added that the UK Armed Forces will also continue to train an additional 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers in the first half of 2024, building on the 60,000 soldiers they have already trained.

Reversing Ukraine’s recent “arms deficit”.

In his speech, Shapps echoed a point echoed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the recent Munich Security Conference, where he stressed that more must be done to reverse the “artificial arms deficit”, which the Ukrainian politician claimed that “he will only help Russia”.

It appears that Ukraine’s withdrawal from Avdiivka, a town in the long-embattled Donetsk region, can be largely explained by the force’s lack of weapons and ammunition.

“Delays in Western security aid, specifically artillery ammunition and critical air defense systems, have prevented Ukrainian troops from defending against Russian advances in Avdiivka,” said the security research group, the Institute for the Study of War.

Additional reporting by Richard Thomas.

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