The UK is reportedly due to send Ukraine Stormer armored vehicles.
- The vehicle launches Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles which can shoot down jets and helicopters.
- The Stormers are being deployed to Ukraine along with 120 personnel carriers.
The UK plans to send armored anti-aircraft vehicles to Ukraine, The Times of London reported.
The Stormer vehicles launch 17 high-velocity Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles, which can destroy planes and helicopters.
Starstreak is Britain’s most advanced operated portable missile system, and the UK sent a consignment to Ukraine in March.
The missiles are laser-guided and split into three darts, which have a range of up to seven kilometers, according to The Times. A video from early April appeared to show the Starstreak missile in action, shooting down a Russian helicopter.
However, until now, Ukraine has only been able to fire the British missiles using shoulder launchers or portable stands, The Times said.
The 13.5-tonne Stormer vehicles are easier to operate, the paper said, and Ukrainian forces will be able to speed to locations at 50mph, fire the missile, and then leave.
The vehicle operates with a crew of three — a driver, commander, and gunner.
Sources told The Sun that “a handful of Stormers” will be deployed to Ukraine alongside 120 personnel carriers.
It can be loaded onto C-17 transport planes and flown to Ukraine in days, The Sun said.
The provision of Stormers to Ukraine has not been officially announced, but The Sun reported that Defence Secretary Ben Wallace would be making a statement in parliament this week.
“It is no secret that the UK has committed to helping Ukraine with its anti-air capabilities,” a source told the paper.
The Ministry of Defence hosted a Ukrainian government delegation at the Salisbury Plain Training Area two weeks ago and is said to have demonstrated the technology, The Times said.
The move marks a significant increase in heavy weaponry to Ukraine from Britain as Russia continues with its offensive in the Donbas region.
So far, Western governments have only sent Ukraine shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles to defend against Russian forces.
“The Stormer-Starstreak combination will boost Ukraine’s fighting capability,” Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British troops in Afghanistan, told The Times.
“It is an extremely effective, highly mobile combat vehicle that will do severe damage to any attempts at low-level attack by Putin’s air force.”
However, Kemp told the paper that the move is likely to anger Moscow, which has already expressed displeasure with the West for sending weapons to Ukraine.
British special forces are also believed to be training local troops in Kyiv for the first time since Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian commanders told The Times of London.
The British soldiers have reportedly trained Ukrainian troops to use NLAWs, British-supplied anti-tank missiles.