The UK government on Thursday announced it would send Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine, becoming the first country to provide longer-range weapons to Kyiv.
"Today I can confirm that the UK is donating Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine," Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, said.
"The donation of these weapons systems gives Ukraine the best chance to defend themselves against Russia's continued brutality."
The news means Kyiv now has the long-range strike capability that President Zelensky has been demanding ahead of the much-anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Storm Shadow is a fire and forget cruise missile developed by MBDA missile systems, a joint venture between three European aerospace and defense companies.
The ‘export’ version of the missile has a 300 km range and has been modified to allow it to operate from Ukraine’s existing fleet of former-Soviet aircraft without further adjustment. It uses GPS, terrain mapping and other sensors to deliver the 450kg, two stage ‘Bomb Royal Ordnance Augmented Charge’ (BROACH) warhead onto the target.
If provided in sufficient quantities these missiles could be a game changer, allowing Ukrainian forces to interdict Russian logistic facilities and resupply lines, headquarters and other military infrastructure well beyond the front line.
The deployment of the missiles comes as Ukrainian forces prepare to launch a counteroffensive intended to retake Kremlin-held territory in the eastern and the southern parts of the country.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his address on May 10 that they still need “a bit more time” before any counteroffensive, in order to allow some more of the promised Western military aid to arrive in country.
In its article ‘Report Suggests Ukraine Could Soon Receive Storm Shadow Missiles – Here’s What You Need to Know’ on May 9, Kyiv Post reported that a call for interest (CFI) had been put out to industry at the beginning of May through the International Fund for Ukraine (IFU) mechanism for a ‘missile or rocket’ system, the specifications of which closely matched the UK’s Storm Shadow cruise missile.
It is estimated the UK currently holds between 700–1000 Storm Shadow missiles. Britain may have supplied the Ukraine from these stocks, with the aim of the IFU request to acquire stocks to backfill those missiles provided to Ukraine.
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