UK Plans to Send Starstreak Anti-Aircraft Missiles to Ukraine

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced Wednesday that the UK government plans to send Starstreak anti-aircraft missile systems to Ukraine for it to defend itself against the Russian invasion.

The secretary said an “in-principal” decision has been made to send the Thales system after a request from Ukraine, adding that the system remains within the definition of a “defensive” weapon.

‘Defensive’ System

“It is vital… that Ukraine maintains its ability to fly and suppress Russian air attack,” Reuters quoted Wallace as saying at the Parliament.

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

“We shall also be increasing the supplies of rations, medical equipment, and other non-lethal military aid.”

3,615 Anti-Tank Systems Delivered

If approved, the Starstreak will be a step up on the “defensive weapons” the island nation has delivered to Ukraine so far, including 3,615 anti-tank NLAW (Next generation Light Anti-tank Weapon) systems.

The Starstreak missile flies at three times the speed of sound and can strike aircraft at over 7 kilometers (4.35 miles). The 14 kilograms (31 pounds) system can be shoulder-fired or mounted on land, sea, and air platforms.

A Next-Generation Light Anti-tank Weapon. Image: Saab

Javelins on the Way

The UK will also send another batch of anti-tank weapons, including a “small consignment” of Javelin anti-tank missile systems, Sky News quoted Wallace as saying in parliament.

The Thales shoulder-fired weapon has a range of up to 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) against the 800 meters (2,625 feet) of the Saab NLAW. At 24.3 kilograms (53.6 pounds), however, the Javelin is almost twice as heavy as the Saab weapon.

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