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UK donates rocket launch systems to Ukraine

A tranche of M270 weapon systems will be gifted to Ukraine to complement the United States’ HMARS delivery.

A tranche of M270 weapon systems will be gifted to Ukraine to complement the United States’ HMARS delivery.

The UK Ministry of Defence has announced additional military support for Ukraine’s resistance against Russian aggression, revealing it would supply M270 multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) and M31A1 munitions.

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The MLRS is billed as a highly mobile automatic system, firing surface-to-surface rockets from the M270 family of launcher weapons platforms that can be launched in less than one minute by a three-man crew.

M270 systems, which have a range of up to 80 kilometres, can fire:

  • 12 Guided MLRS (GMLRS) or Extended Range (ER) GMLRS rockets;
  • four Precision Strike Missiles (PrSM); or
  • two Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS).

This is a response to Ukraine’s request for longer range precision weapons to bolster their defences against heavy artillery from the Russian military in the eastern Donbas region.

“The UK stands with Ukraine in this fight and is taking a leading role in supplying its heroic troops with the vital weapons they need to defend their country from unprovoked invasion,” Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.

“If the international community continues its support, I believe Ukraine can win.

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“As Russia’s tactics change, so must our support to Ukraine. These highly capable multiple-launch rocket systems will enable our Ukrainian friends to better protect themselves against the brutal use of long-range artillery, which Putin’s forces have used indiscriminately to flatten cities.”

Ukrainian troops are set to be trained in Britain on how to use the launchers, building on previous armoured vehicle training.

The UK’s decision has been coordinated with the United States, which recently confirmed it would equip Ukrainian forces with High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).

The Biden administration announced a US$700 million (AU$976 million) military support package – the 11th drawdown of equipment from the US Department of Defense’s inventories for Ukraine since August 2021.

In addition to the HMARS systems, the package includes:

  • Soviet-designed Mi-17 transport helicopters;
  • five counter-artillery radars;
  • two air surveillance radars;
  • 1,000 Javelin anti-tank missiles and 50 Command Launch Units;
  • 6,000 anti-armour weapons;
  • 15,000 155mm artillery rounds;
  • 15 tactical vehicles; and
  • spare parts and equipment.

The Biden administration’s security assistance to Ukraine now totals approximately US$5.3 billion (AU$7.4 billion), including approximately $4.6 billion (AU$6.4 billion) since Russia launched its invasion.

[Related: US gifts Soviet-designed helicopters to Ukraine]

Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib

News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media

Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres.

UK donates rocket launch systems to Ukraine
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