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UK Considering Sending High-Velocity Starstreak Missiles To Ukraine

Daisy Phillipson

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UK Considering Sending High-Velocity Starstreak Missiles To Ukraine

The UK is considering sending Starstreak missiles – dubbed the ‘fastest missile in its class’ – to Ukraine in a bid to help in their defence against Russian forces

Amid calls from Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for further support from European countries, the UK’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace addressed the House of Commons in a statement today (9 March). 

As well as updating MPs on the military aid sent to Ukraine, Wallace revealed the government’s plans to potentially provide a number of the high-velocity missiles in order to strengthen the country’s position. 

Starstreak missiles are the fastest of their kind. Credit: YouTube/Thales
Starstreak missiles are the fastest of their kind. Credit: YouTube/Thales

“As the conflict intensifies, the Russians are changing their tactics, so the Ukrainians need to, too,” said Wallace

He continued: “To date, the international community has donated more than 900 man-portable air defence missiles and thousands of anti-tank guided weapons of varying types, as well as various small arms. 

“However, the capability needs strengthening, so in response to Ukrainian requests the Government have taken the decision to explore the donation of Starstreak high-velocity, man-portable anti-air missiles. 

“We believe that this system will remain within the definition of defensive weapons, but will allow the Ukrainian forces to better defend their skies.”

Starstreak is a short range man-portable air-defence system (MANPADS) manufactured by Thales Air Defence, formerly Shorts Missile Systems, in Belfast. 

The lightweight missiles accelerate to more than Mach 4, travelling three times faster than the speed of sound, making them the fastest short-range surface-to-air missiles.

According to the manufacturer’s website, the projectiles are ‘designed to provide close air defence against conventional air threats such as fixed wing fighters and late unmasking helicopter targets’.

Since first being used by the British Army in 1997, Thales has introduced improvements to Starstreak to provide increased range beyond 7km and improved guidance precision against small targets.

In addition to providing missiles and weapons, Wallace said the UK will also increase supplies of rations, medical equipment, and other non-lethal military aid to Ukraine. 

He added: “Today the estimated number of Ukrainian civilians killed or injured stands at more than 1,000, but the true figure is expected to be much higher, and I am afraid that worse is likely to come. 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace. Credit: Creative Commons
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace. Credit: Creative Commons

“It is for that reason that the UK will increase its funding for Ukraine to £220 million, which includes £120 million of humanitarian aid. 

“That will make the United Kingdom the single biggest bilateral humanitarian donor to Ukraine. 

“We are also supporting humanitarian work with the Polish and Romanian Governments on the borders.”

If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/Thales

Topics: Ukraine, Russia, World News, UK News

Daisy Phillipson
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