British Military Ramps Up Support for Ukraine With Anti-Submarine Warfare Helicopters – For the first time, the United Kingdom will send helicopters and other military aid to Ukraine – an escalation of support for Kyiv in its fight against Russia. The first of three Sea King helicopters recently arrived this week, becoming the first piloted aircraft to be sent by the UK since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion in February.
Minister of Defence Ben Wallace told reporters that 10,000 artillery rounds would also be sent to aid the Ukrainian military’s efforts to secure territory liberated from the invading forces. The fresh support follows a previous commitment by London to provide 1,000 surface-to-air missiles and 125 anti-aircraft guns.
“These additional artillery rounds will help Ukraine to secure the land it has reclaimed from Russia in recent weeks,” Wallace added.
Britain remains the second largest donor of military aid to Ukraine after the United States. In addition to the military hardware, the new £50 million ($59 million) package of defense aid will include cold-weather kits for the Ukrainian armed forces.
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson was a staunch ally of Ukraine, visiting Kyiv three times and funneling military hardware, funding, and training resources to the country.
Ukrainian Sub Hunter?
The Royal Navy has provided six weeks of training on the Sikorsky SH-3 Sea Kings, an American twin-engine anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter. It was one of the first ASW rotorcraft to use turboshaft engines. It was originally developed for the United States Navy to counter the growing threat from Soviet submarines during the Cold War.
The Sea King is able to combine the roles of hunter and killer, which had previously been carried out by two helicopters. It is built under license in the United Kingdom as the Westland Sea King.
A number of ASW helicopters were deployed during the Falklands War, where they were used to protect the fleet by acting as decoys against incoming Exocet missiles, in addition to hunting for Argentine vessels. Some of the missions were flown by Prince Andrew, Duke of York.
The Westland Sea King has since seen service with both the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force in a number of roles in the Gulf War, the Bosnian War, the Iraq War, and the Afghanistan War.
In addition to being a submarine hunter, the helicopter can serve as a troop transport and also conduct search and rescue operations. It is unclear if the Ukrainian military will employ the Sea Kings to hunt Russian submarines in the Black Sea or in land-based operations.
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.