The UK plans to purchase weapons for Ukraine’s needs using a special fund to support Kyiv in the fight against Russian invading troops. The list of weapons includes long-range missiles, which official Ukraine has repeatedly requested.
The UK Ministry of Defense has announced the purchase of weapons to support the mobility of the Armed Forces, long-range strikes, and air defence. The purchase of long-range weapons will last until May 4.
What the UK plans to provide to the Ukrainian army?
The UK Ministry of Defense is planning to purchase the following mobility equipment for Ukraine:
- de-mining equipment, full-width and track-width mine rollers and mine trawls for main battle tanks (T-72, Leopard 1, Leopard 2), as well as armoured de-mining vehicles
- armoured personnel carrier bridges and launchers of any size;
- medium girder bridges from 9 to 31 meters with a minimum military load capacity of 72 tons;
- logistics support bridge launchers and reusable bridges from 40 to 80 meters with a minimum military payload of 70 tons;
- heavy equipment transporters capable of transporting main battle tanks.
The UK Ministry of Defense has also taken a step that Ukraine has been waiting for – London is purchasing long-range weapons with a range of 100 to 300 kilometres with land, sea or air launch and a payload of 20 to 490 kilograms.
The main requirements of the British Ministry for manufacturers are:
- low probability of interception (LPI)4;
- mission planning capability;
- guaranteed navigation with enhanced GPS capabilities;
- ability to overcome air defence to increase the likelihood of a successful strike.
London also plans to conduct procurement for the modernization and maintenance of existing Ukrainian platforms and to establish the production of tank and artillery shells.
Why Ukraine needs long-range weapons?
The maximum range of destruction of enemy targets in the Russian invaders’ rear after Washington provided JDAM “smart bombs” increased from 80 to 150 kilometres. However, this is insufficient to repel Russian troops from the Ukrainian land.
The “smart bombs” will allow Ukrainians to hit enemy targets in the deep rear of almost the entire occupied part of mainland Ukraine. However, as for Crimea, these weapons can only reach the northwestern coast.
To effectively hit Russian targets, particularly in the temporarily occupied Crimea, Ukraine needs long-range weapons with a range of up to 300 kilometres. Such weapons in the hands of the Ukrainian Armed Forces will make all Russian targets vulnerable. Thus, the invaders will have nowhere to hide in Ukraine.
But for a long time, Western partners, especially the United States, have been holding back from providing Ukraine with these weapons because of fears that Ukraine could use long-range missiles to strike Russia.
However, according to media reports, Kyiv has even provided Washington with a list of targets it plans to hit with long-range weapons. The United States have another reason for refusing to deliver long-range missiles, including ATACMS, which can be launched from the existing HIMARS systems. It is the need for a large stockpile of these weapons.
However, negotiations are ongoing, and the UK’s plans to purchase long-range missiles for Ukraine are a serious step forward in this critical issue.