HomeGlobal Defence UpdatesNew UK defense chief pledges more air-defense, strike weapons for Kyiv

New UK defense chief pledges more air-defense, strike weapons for Kyiv


LONDON — Air defense and long-range strike weapons are on the U.K. government’s priority list for supply to Ukraine, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said on Wednesday.

In a statement issued on the sidelines of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting at Ramstein air base in Germany on Sept 20, Britain’s new defense chief said the equipment would be delivered to Kyiv over the coming months, though he provided few details.

The announcement that additional air-defense capabilities were on their way followed a plea 24 hours earlier by his U.S. counterpart, Lloyd Austin, urging allies to “dig deep” to increase the supply of weapons to counter Russia’s continuing aerial bombardment of Ukraine.

The Ramstein meeting brings together ministers and senior officials from nearly 50 nations to coordinate international support for Ukraine.

Britain has already supplied hundreds of air-defense weapons to the Ukraine, including Starstreak and AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles.

Long-range strike weapon deliveries from the British include Storm Shadow cruise missiles and M270 multiple launch rocket systems.

Shapps, who made his first appearance at the Ramstein meeting since taking over as defence secretary from Ben Wallace late last month, said the list of capabilities destined for Ukraine in the coming months would also include artillery ammunition, training and maintenance and repair.

The British recently completed the delivery their 300,00th artillery round to Ukraine since the conflict with Russia started.

“Today we’ve demonstrated the UK’s unwavering commitment to Ukraine and set out more military support, including pledging tens of thousands more artillery shells to enable Ukraine to defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked invasion,” Shapps said.

Support of British military vehicles in service in Ukraine is also of growing importance.

In July British defense contractor Babcock was awarded a contract by the UK MoD to support urgent operational requirements for Ukraine’s military vehicle assets as part of London’s support for the country.

The initial 12-month contract is worth around £50 million ($62 million) and will see Babcock support British-supplied armored vehicles to the Ukrainian military, including Challenger 2 tanks.

The company recently signed a cooperation agreement with Ukrainian state defense concern Ukroboronprom to study opportunities for implementing joint defense projects locally.

Late last month BAE Systems revealed it was doing something similar with exploration of possible local production of 105mm light guns.

Andrew Chuter is the United Kingdom correspondent for Defense News.

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