What fighter jets could Britain send to Ukraine?
What fighter jets could Britain send to Ukraine? And what military kit is the UK already providing for Kyiv?
- Rishi Sunak looking into what fighter jets UK could potentially give to Ukraine
- Volodymyr Zelensky is pleading for Western allies to provide air support
Rishi Sunak is looking into what fighter jets Britain could send to Ukraine in order to boost the country’s efforts in repelling Russia’s invasion.
The Prime Minister has asked Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to investigate what jets the UK could potentially give to Kyiv.
It comes in response to Volodymyr Zelensky’s plea for Western allies to provide air support.
So what fighter jets does Britain currently own that might be sent to Ukraine? And what military kit has the UK already gifted to Kyiv?
The Typhoon is described by the RAF as a ‘highly capable and extremely agile multi-role combat aircraft’ that can be deployed for the ‘full spectrum of air operations’
Ex-PM Boris Johnson has noted that Britain currently has more than 100 Typhoon jets as he demanded they be provided to Kyiv.
The Typhoon is described by the RAF as a ‘highly capable and extremely agile multi-role combat aircraft’ that can be deployed for the ‘full spectrum of air operations’.
This includes air policing as well as high-intensity conflict.
It has a maximum speed of Mach 1.8 and can fly as high as 55,000 feet above ground level.
Among its armament, the Typhoon can carry Meteor air-to-air missiles, Paveway precision-guided bombs, and Storm Shadow and Brimstone air-to-ground missiles.
Downing Street has not ruled out sending British fighter jets to Ukraine.
But No10 has pointed to how planes such as the Typhoon are ‘complex pieces of military equipment’ and typically take around five years for pilots to be trained on them.
Justin Bronk, senior research fellow for airpower at the RUSI think tank, said the RAF’s Typhoon force is ‘badly, badly overstretched already’ amid the demand for the planes to be sent to Ukraine.
He has also questioned whether they would actually be suitable for the Ukraine conflict as they are not optimised for low altitude air-to-air conflict, and would struggle with short and rough airbases.
Mr Bronk suggested any donation of Britain’s Typhoon planes would be ‘a largely symbolic gesture’.
This would perhaps be made in the hope it persuades other nations such as the US or Sweden to provide more suitable F-18 or Gripen aircraft, he added.
The RAF F-35 Lightning can operate undetected in hostile airspace and can share information using secure data links
The RAF F-35 Lightning has advanced sensors and stealth technology, meaning it can be used in intelligence gathering as well as other roles.
It can operate undetected in hostile airspace and can share information using secure data links.
Its short take-off and vertical landing capability allows it to operate from the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, as well as similar vessels of other nations, and short airstrips.
It can fly at a maximum speed of Mach 1.6 and a maximum altitude of 50,000 feet, while it has a combat radius of 833 km.
It is typically armed with two air-to-air missiles and two bombs.
Last year, Lightnings from RAF Marham joined Nato-led operations in policing European airspace following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Challenger 2 tanks
Ukrainian troops are currently being trained to operate Challenger 2s in south west England
Britain is sending 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Kyiv, which the PM hopes will be in operation in Ukraine by next month.
They are designed to destroy enemy tanks and are being sent ahead of an expected Russian offensive this Spring.
Ukrainian troops are currently being trained to operate Challenger 2s in south west England.
They weigh around 62.5 tonnes, carry a crew of four, have a maximum speed of 37 miles per hour and can operate for 340 miles on road without refuelling.
The Challenger 2’s main armament is a L30A1 120mm rifled gun with 47 rounds.
The British Army boasts that the Challenger 2’s strength ‘lies in its ability to shock the enemy by placing them under pressure by a rapid and fully-committed advance, causing them to break and retreat’.
Stormer armoured vehicles can carry eight ready-to-fire ‘Starstreak’ missiles, with a further nine stowed inside
Britain has gifted a number of ‘Stormer’ armoured vehicles to Ukraine fitted with launchers for anti-air missiles.
The 5.6 metre-long vehicles weigh 13.5 tonnes and can travel at 80kph (50mph).
They can carry eight ready-to-fire ‘Starstreak’ missiles, with a further nine stowed inside.
Each of these laser-guided projectile splits into three darts, in order to rip targets apart.
The shoulder-launched NLAW missile system attacks a tank from above and has been hailed as a key factor in Ukraine’s fightback
Britain has provided thousands of NLAWs to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion.
The shoulder-launched missile system attacks a tank from above and has been hailed as a key factor in Ukraine’s fightback.
They allow a single soldier to take out a heavily protected modern main battle tank from 20 to 800 metres away.
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