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United Kingdom Will Send Hundreds of Air Defense Missiles to Ukraine

F-22 Raptor Firing Sidewinder
This F-22A Raptor from the 27th Fighter Squadron "Fighting Eagles" located at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, fires an AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) and an AIM-9M sidewinder heat-seeking air-to-air missile at an BQM-34P "Fire-bee" subscale aerial target drone over the Gulf of Mexico during a Combat Archer mission. The unit was deployed to Tyndall AFB, Florida to support the Air-to-Air Weapons System Evaluation Program hosted by the 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron also located at Tyndall.

The United Kingdom will send hundreds of air defense missiles to Ukraine in response to the Russian missile attacks against Ukrainian cities.

The week began with a barrage of Russian missiles against Ukrainian cities across the country, with more than 20 cities and towns the targets of a wide variety of Russian munitions.

In an attempt to display military power and take revenge for the partial destruction of the Kerch Bridge that links annexed Crimea to Russia, Moscow launched hundreds of ballistic and cruise missiles and unmanned aerial systems against Ukrainian urban centers and critical infrastructure.

In response to the attacks, several countries, including France, Germany, the U.K., and the United States, have promised more security aid to Ukraine, specifically advanced air defense systems.

AIM-120 AMRAAMs to Ukraine

The U.K. government announced that it would donate an unspecified number of AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) to Ukraine.

Usually fired by fighter jets to hone on the radar of an enemy aircraft, the AIM-120 AMRAAM can be outfitted to be fired by ground weapon systems.

The British AIM-120 AMRAAMs will be fired by the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) short- and medium-range air defense system.

Earlier in the summer, the U.S. had announced its intention to supply Ukraine with the NASAMS air defense system, but now, in response to the Russian missile attacks, the White House has decided to expedite the process.

“Russia’s latest indiscriminate strikes on civilian areas in Ukraine warrant further support to those seeking to defend their nation. So today I have authorised the supply of AMRAAM anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine,” British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in a press release.

The AIM-120 AMRAAMs will arrive in Ukraine in the coming weeks and will be used in conjunction with the NASAMS in order to protect Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure from cruise missile attacks.

“These weapons will help Ukraine defend its skies from attacks and strengthen their overall missile defence alongside the US NASAMS,” Wallace added.

In addition to the AIM-120 AMRAAMs, the U.K. will be sending hundreds additional air defense missiles, hundreds of unmanned aerial systems capable of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and logistical support, as well as an additional 18 105mm howitzers.


NASAMS launch. Image Credit: Industry Handout.


NASAMS. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

“Bolstering Ukraine’s air defences has been and remains a priority for UK military support. So far we have provided a variety of air defence systems including Stormer vehicles fitted with Starstreak launchers, and hundreds of anti-air missiles,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.

A Reliable Partner 

The U.K. is the second-largest contributor of military aid to Ukraine behind the United States (the European Union and Poland rank third and fourth, respectively). Despite the ousting of Boris Johnson, a passionate supporter of the Ukrainian cause, from the office of prime minister, the British government has committed to continue its support for the Ukrainians. Indeed, a few weeks ago, the U.K. pledged to meet in 2023, at the very minimum, the security aid it has sent or committed to sending Ukraine during this year.

Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.