The UK has supplied Ukraine with multiple Storm Shadow cruise missiles to support the highly anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian invading forces.
Photo: RAF ‘Tornado’ Carrying 2 Storm Shadow missiles; MBDA Missile Systems
It was reported by CNN. Based on the accounts of “multiple senior Western officials,” the report would mean that Ukraine’s Armed Forces now have the long-range strike capability that Ukrainian President Zelensky has been demanding ahead of the expected 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 version of the Storm Shadow missile for export has a 300 km range. It has been modified to allow it to operate from Ukraine’s current fleet of former-Soviet aircraft without additional adjustment.
Storm Shadow uses GPS, terrain mapping and other sensors to deliver the 450kg, two-stage ‘Bomb Royal Ordnance Augmented Charge’ warhead onto the enemy target. If provided in sufficient amounts, these missiles could be a game changer in the war, allowing the Ukrainian army to destroy Russian logistic facilities and resupply lines, headquarters, and other military infrastructure on the occupied lands far beyond the front lines.
The deployment of the missiles comes as the Ukrainian military prepare to launch a counteroffensive intended to retake Russia-seized Ukrainian territories in the eastern and 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 to allow some more of the promised Western weapons to arrive in the country.
A call for interest had been placed to the Western military industry at the beginning of May through the International Fund for Ukraine mechanism for a ‘missile or rocket’ system, the specifications of which closely matched the British Storm Shadow cruise missile.
The UK currently holds between 700–1000 Storm Shadow missiles, according to the estimations. Great Britain may have supplied Ukraine with these stocks, with the aim of the Fund’s request to acquire stockpiles to backfill those missiles delivered to Ukraine.