British MoD announces new military aid for Ukraine including UAVs & air defense systems

According to a statement released by the British Ministry of Defense on February 15, 2023, Ukraine will receive capabilities worth millions including tank spares, uncrewed air systems, electronic warfare, and air defense, from the first package of multi-million pound funding from the International Fund for Ukraine (IFU).
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The United Kingdom will provide Ukraine with Challenger 2 tanks, AS90 howitzers, air defense systems, and drones.

The first equipment package was agreed upon by the UK, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. These partners, along with Iceland and Lithuania, have contributed a collective total of more than £520 million to the fund.

With an expected value of more than £200m, the first package will include vital capabilities in the form of artillery ammunition, maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and spare parts for equipment, including Ukraine’s current tanks.

The first package of IFU support drew bids from both UK and international industry suppliers to meet Ukraine’s lethal and non-lethal equipment provision priorities, with more than 40 countries submitting more than 1,500 proposals across 11 capability areas. The funding agreement demonstrates the UK’s commitment to standing with Ukraine for as long as it takes. Alongside Allies, we continue to provide training and equipment to the country, with the ability to surge that support should Ukraine come under threat. By making this commitment we will strengthen Ukraine’s position in negotiations, guard its long-term sovereignty and enable Ukraine to deter by denial.

The announcement came on February 15, 2023, during a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, attended by Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace.

Following this morning’s NATO meeting, 18 European nations, including the UK, agreed to sign a joint letter of intent to explore and develop a framework for improved surveillance from space, through multinational cooperation and sharing of national space-based capabilities.

The agreement, which will launch the Allied Persistent Surveillance from Space Initiative (APSS), was signed by the UK, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey, and Sweden.

The letter of intent agrees that signatory nations will explore: the potential for sharing data from national surveillance satellites; processing, exploitation, and dissemination of data from within national capabilities; and funding to purchase data from commercial companies. APSS is expected to start operating in 2025.

Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine has highlighted the importance of a persistent space surveillance capability, which also forms one of the North Atlantic Council’s agreed strategic outcomes of its Joint Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Vision 2030+.

The announcements come just days after President Zelenksyy made a historic visit to the UK to meet Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and see first-hand how the UK was supporting Ukraine through military training and lethal aid donations.

Bilaterally, the UK supported Ukraine with £2.3 billion of military support in 2022 and the Government has committed to matching or exceeding this in 2023. Since the start of the year, the UK has already committed to providing Ukraine with a squadron of 14 Challenger 2 main battle tanks, including training, ammunition, and spare parts; AS90 self-propelled guns to boost Ukraine’s long-range capability; and hundreds more air defense missiles.