The United Kingdom will send hundreds of kamikaze drones to Ukraine to help bolster its defenses against the Russian invasion. This news broke during a meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and UK’s Rishi Sunak. “The kamikaze drones have a range of more than 125 miles – more than twice as far as the highly successful Himars – and complement the long-range Storm Shadow missiles the UK donated to Ukraine last week,” The Telegraph reported.
Defense sources, speaking to the Telegraph, acknowledged the drones were “one-way,” with a “primary goal to carry munitions.” They added that these drones had been “rapidly developed and adapted at significantly lower costs than others,” having a comparable effect to an artillery shell. The drones are slated for delivery in the coming months.
During Zelensky’s visit, Sunak drew comparisons to Winston Churchill’s wartime leadership, declaring, “the same way today, your leadership, your country’s bravery, and fortitude are an inspiration to us all.” Zelensky emerged from the meeting expressing positivity about the potential formation of a “jets coalition” in the war against Russia.
Emmanuel Macron, the French President, has also expressed willingness to support Ukraine, revealing that France and several other European countries are prepared to train Ukrainian fighter pilots.
The Hampshire-based defense technology company QinetiQ said it had been collaborating with UK’s Ministry of Defence on a drone program to “provide recommendations for uncrewed aircraft systems that could be deployed readily by the Ukrainian military.”
In February, the UK had pledged to provide Kyiv with longer-range capabilities to “disrupt Russia’s ability to continually target Ukraine’s civilian and critical national infrastructure and help relieve pressure on Ukraine’s front lines,” and pioneered among Ukraine’s defense partners by supplying long-range Storm Shadow missiles.
The UK’s provision of drones comes with the stipulation that they are to be used strictly on Ukrainian soil, to defend Ukrainian sovereignty, the Telegraph writes.
Greg Bagwell, the president of the UK Air & Space Power Association, emphasized that these drones, capable of traveling more than 100 miles (160 km), provide Ukraine with the opportunity “to strike beyond the limited range of artillery it has up until now” and “to strike back which it hasn’t had until now.”