The shock transfer was introduced by the Defence Secretary whereas addressing the Parliament on the intensification of UK’s navy help to Ukraine.
In an surprising transfer after western nations had been reluctant to supply Ukraine with lengthy vary weapons, the UK has now introduced that Storm Shadow cruise missiles are being sent to Ukraine. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed the information to the Parliament on Might 11, 2023 whereas saying the intensification of the UK’s navy aids to Ukraine.
“At this time, I can verify that the UK has donated Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine,” mentioned Wallace. “Storm Shadow is a long-range standard precision strike functionality. It compliments the long-range programs already gifted, together with HIMARS and Harpoon missiles, in addition to Ukraine’s personal Neptune cruise missiles and longer-range munitions already gifted.
The MBDA Storm Shadow missile is a standard, stealthy, 1,300 kg standoff weapon (over 5-mt lengthy), designed to be used towards very excessive worth hardened targets in all-weather circumstances with out exposing plane and crews to excessive risk ranges. The missile had its baptism of fireplace with the RAF (and Italian) Tornados, which extensively used the Storm Shadow in fight throughout Libya Air Struggle in 2011.
In accordance with the general public information, the Storm Shadow has a 450kg standard warhead and a variety in extra of 250 km. This places the attain of the Ukrainian navy effectively over the vary of the HIMARS a number of rocket launcher, presently the weapon with the longest vary donated by the US, which has a variety of 75 km.
“I’m certain the Home will perceive that I cannot go into additional particulars of the aptitude,” added Wallace. “However whereas these weapons will give Ukraine new functionality, members ought to recognise that these programs are usually not in the identical league because the Russian AS-24 KILLJOY hypersonic missile or Shahed Iranian one-way assault drones, or their Kalibr cruise missile with a variety of over 2,000km. Roughly 7 instances that of the Storm Shadow missile.”
Whereas the Secretary didn’t verify this, some sources are reporting that a number of missiles has already been delivered. Wallace, nonetheless, confirmed that this weapon switch has been within the works for a while as, earlier than the announcement, the missile has been built-in on an unspecified Ukrainian plane.
“It’s not simple to take a British-French missile and incorporate it on a former Soviet-era or Russian plane. That has been one of many causes for the time, understanding whether it is technically possible,” mentioned the Secretary. “It took lengthy partly due to the technical feasibility. Taking successfully a fifth or 4th era weapons system and placing it generally onto a third or 2nd era plane shouldn’t be simple and we’ll see.”
Some unconfirmed experiences, which have by no means been verified by official sources, said that Ukrainian Su-24 Fencer bombers may need been despatched to Poland for the required upgrades earlier than the Storm Shadow may very well be built-in. Wallace, nonetheless, considerably confirmed that this was not solely a UK effort and one other nation may need been concerned.
“I wish to pay tribute to our scientists and our technicians who’ve completed an incredible job not simply with this functionality – and really different scientists throughout Europe who’ve managed to supply the mixing of western weapons into Russian gear,” mentioned Walalce. “I’m not going to touch upon once we count on these for use however however they’ve but to be examined and we’ll quickly discover out, possibly within the subsequent weeks or months – we’ll discover out to the extent that that has labored, however that takes time.”