Over 3,500 ‘built in Belfast’ NLAW anti-tank bazookas sent to Ukraine

Britain is sending more weapons to Ukraine to help in the defensive effort against Russia’s invasion, the Defence Secretary has said.

By PA Reporter
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 3:52 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 4:22 pm

Ben Wallace told MPs the Russians are “changing their tactics and so the Ukrainians need to too”, with the UK exploring the possible donation of portable anti-air missiles.

He also confirmed the UK has delivered 3,615 anti-tank weapons, known as NLAWs, which are understood to be constructed by French weapons firm Thales at their facility in east Belfast.

The UK will also shortly be supplying a “small consignment” of Javelin anti-tank missiles.

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An NLAW anti-tank missile being fired during training.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Wallace highlighted the “horrific devastation” inflicted on civilian areas by Russian artillery and air strikes, describing it as “indiscriminate and murderous”.

He told MPs: “It is vital that Ukraine maintains its ability to fly and to suppress Russian air attack.

“To date the international community has donated over 900 manned portable air defence missiles and thousands of anti-tank guided weapons of varying type, as well as various small arms.

“But the capability needs strengthening.

“So, in response to a Ukrainian request, the Government has taken the decision to explore the donation of Starstreak high-velocity manned portable anti-air missiles.

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“We believe that this system will remain within the definition of defensive weapons but will allow the Ukrainian force to better defend their skies.

“We shall also be increasing the supplies of rations, medical equipment and other non-lethal military aid.”

Earlier, the Cabinet minister also confirmed: “On January 17, I announced to the House the Government’s intention to supply military aid to the Ukrainian armed forces.

“The initial supply was to be 2,000 new light anti-tank weapons, smaller arms and ammunition.

“In response to further acts of aggression by Russia we have now increased that supply.

“I can update the House as of today we will have delivered 3,615 NLAWs (anti-tank missiles) and will continue to deliver more.

“We will shortly be starting the delivery of small consignments of anti-tank Javelin missiles as well.”

The NLAW is accurate to a least 600 metres (about 2,000ft).

It is designed so it can explode in the air directly above a tank, where the armour is often thinnest, instead of slamming into the thickly-plated body of the vehicle.