The UK Government announced a new package of military support for Ukraine, worth more than $120 million during the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday.

The package will include minefield breaching equipment, equipment and spare parts for vehicle maintenance as well as an undisclosed number of the MSI-DS Terrahawk Paladin system, which will enhance Ukraine’s capability to protect critical national infrastructure from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including the Iranian Shahed kamikaze drone and other airborne threats.

The support package, uses money from the International Fund for Ukraine (IFU), which is administered by the UK Ministry of Defence on behalf of an Executive Panel, comprising the UK, Norway, Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden.

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The MSI-DS Terrahawk Paladin system

MSI Defence Systems (MSI-DS) has developed Terrahawk Paladin from its very successful Seahawk system which provides close-in protection for ships from anti-ship and other missiles.

Terrahawk is described by its manufacturer as a Very Short-Range Air Defense (VSHORAD) Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS) system.

Originally designed as a static, point defense equipment, it is mounted on a stationary NATO-standard Demountable Rack Offload and Pickup System (DROPS) platform, which can be carried by any compatible truck. MSI-DS unveiled and announced a new mobile version based on its own 6x6 truck platform at DSEI 2023 in September.

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70 out of 80 Ukrainian drones were reportedly shot down over the Rostov region, just across the Kerch Strait from Ukraine and home to a swathe of Russian military facilities.

The system consists of a combination of complex sensors for the detection and tracking of enemy drones powered by its own generators. It includes four active electronically scanned array (AESA) “SKYctrl” X-band radars, providing 360-degree coverage, mounted on a retractable mast. This radar is provided by the Polish company Advanced Protection Systems (APS). The APS radars are being deployed to protect Warsaw’s Chopin international airport.

It also uses the MSI-DS Surveillance Acquisition Targeting Optical System (SATOS), which incorporates thermal imaging and low-light TV with capability combined with 6Hz laser rangefinder with a range of over 10 kilometers.

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The combination of sensors and its semi-autonomous Remote Weapon Station (RWS) capability means it can successfully engage targets that are initially detected as close as 600 meters, which could prove invaluable if situated in urban areas or within infrastructure facilities.

The manufacturers say the system is designed to be “weapons agnostic” that is, it can be tailored to work with any appropriate weapons system including the Thales Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) and the BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) missile.

The most likely configuration to be provided to Ukraine will be built around the Northrop Grumman manufactured 30mm Mk 44 Bushmaster II autocannon. The cannon is capable of engaging low-flying fast attack craft and UAS targets using Mk238 High Explosive Incendiary (HE-I) rounds or the new XM1211 High Explosive Proximity-fuzed (HE-P) ammunition out to a range of three kilometers.

Paladin can be used as a single, stand-alone point defense weapon or as part of a network of up to six Terrahawks, which can be controlled from a single point and, by exchanging data with each other, create a coordinated area defense system.

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The control station itself can be hardwired into the Paladin platform or work remotely using a line-of-sight facility. There is no requirement for any ground or area preparation prior to deploying the system.

MSI-DS has been involved in naval gunfire control technology since before the First World War. The highly acclaimed SEAHAWK family of Naval Gun Systems, from which Terrahawk Paladin is derived, are actively used on surface ships worldwide and provide reliable protection from surface and air threats for the UK Royal Navy and over 40 other navies internationally.

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