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Defence

UK to supply Ukraine more than 10,000 drones

Meeting President Zelenskyy in Kyiv today, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps announced that the UK will supply more than 10,000 drones to Ukraine.

Image courtesy MoD

Britain steps up support to Ukraine today with a complete package of £325 million for cutting-edge drones to help fight Putin’s illegal invasion.

The investment, which will deliver more than 10,000 drones for the Ukrainian Armed Forces will harness the UK’s world-leading defence industries to deliver advanced new drone capabilities to Ukraine throughout 2024.

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The announcement was made today by the Defence Secretary during a visit to Ukraine, his third visit to the country. Accompanied by the Chief of the Defence Staff, he met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Defence Minister Rustem Umerov, where they reiterated their commitment to Ukraine.

In a significant boost to the £200m drone package announced by the Prime Minister in January, the now £325 million overall funding commitment will deliver over 10,000 uncrewed platforms – the majority of which are first-person view (FPV) drones,1000 one-way attack drones which have been researched and developed in the UK, as well as surveillance and maritime drones.

UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: "I am ramping up our commitment to arm Ukraine with cutting-edge new drones coming directly from the UK’s world-leading defence industries – straight from the factory floor to the frontline. I encourage international partners to join the UK in this effort.

"Ukraine’s Armed Forces are using UK donated weapons to unprecedented effect, to help lay waste to nearly 30% of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

"On my third visit to this great country, I was pleased to be able to offer my firm reassurance to President Zelenskyy on the UK’s unwavering commitment to the brave people and military forces of Ukraine."

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The Armed Forces of Ukraine have earned significant attention for their highly effective use of different types of drones – destroying and damaging thousands of pieces of Russian equipment and vehicles, using much cheaper systems. Highly manoeuvrable FPV drones, which allow the operator the ability to finely control the movements of the drone in real time, have been successfully used to bypass Russian air defences to hit their targets.

These drones have proven highly effective on the battlefield since Russia’s full-scale invasion, providing situational awareness to target enemy positions and armoured vehicles. Ukrainian forces have also used these drones effectively to strike at the heart of Russia’s Navy. With more than a £100 million of this package being spent on maritime capabilities, Ukraine will continue to turn the tide in the Black Sea.

Following a meeting of the US-led Ukraine Defence Contact Group last month, which convenes more than 50 countries in providing military support to Ukraine, the Defence Secretary announced that the UK would co-lead an international capability coalition with Latvia to bolster Ukraine’s drone capabilities.

The Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have both emphasised the importance of championing international support for Ukraine, and last month the Defence Secretary called on NATO Allies to commit even further during a meeting of the alliance’s ministers.

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