What are Brimstone missiles? Defence Secretary suggests UK could supply Ukraine with RAF anti-ship weapons

The Government said the military support aims to support Ukraine choose where it wants to ‘settle for peace’

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The UK will send Stormer missile launchers to Ukraine and offer a deployment of Challenger 2 tanks to Poland, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told the House of Commons on Monday (25 April).

He also did not rule out sending Brimstone missiles to Ukraine which could target Russian ships.

The minister confirmed the UK has supplied £200 million of military aid to Ukraine so far and that the objective of this military support is to help Ukraine “choose where it wishes to settle for peace”.

Here’s what the Defence Secretary said, and what Brimstone missiles are.

What are Brimstone missiles?

Brimstone missiles were developed by arms manufacturer MBDA for the Royal Air Force.

They are anti-ship missiles and have been used by British forces in Libya and Syria.

They are typically launched from fast jet aircraft such as a Typhoon.

The weapon has a length of 1.8m, a weight of 50kg, and a diameter of 180mm.

 An air-launched ground attack Brimstone missile, developed by MBDA for Britain’s Royal Air Force (Photo: Adobe) An air-launched ground attack Brimstone missile, developed by MBDA for Britain’s Royal Air Force (Photo: Adobe)
An air-launched ground attack Brimstone missile, developed by MBDA for Britain’s Royal Air Force (Photo: Adobe)

What did the Defence Secretary say?

The UK is reportedly looking at ways to supply anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, including mounting Brimstone missiles to vehicles.

The Defence Secretary responded to questions on the military update in Ukraine in the House of Commons on Monday (25 April).

SNP MP Dave Doogan asked: “I welcome the details of the £100 million for higher grade equipment, including anti-ship missiles, as the Secretary of State will be all too well aware, you don’t get an awful lot of higher grade equipment for £100 million.

“So, I would welcome any further advice he can give us on that and in terms specifically of anti-ship drill, can he confirm that Brimstone missiles have no role in that application?”

He added: “And can he discuss with us if possible what role the UK’s harpoon missiles will have in that application? And if we’re not donating UK stocks of harpoon missiles, is that because we don’t have enough ourselves?”

On the point of Brimstone missiles, the Defence Secretary responded: “We made a commitment I think nearly 18 months ago, two years ago, when we were selling fast attack patrol boats to Ukraine, that we would sell it armed with maritime Brimstone missiles. We would do that. They are not at present in the country. Those ships have not been yet purchased or delivered.

“However, if we wish to provide Brimstones in whatever guises they are, I will inform members of this House when we do it.”

He added: “I don’t close it off as an opportunity.

“I think it’s a perfectly legitimate thing.”

Mr Wallace stressed “first and foremost, we will look to provide if we do, Brimstone for the land, using stock we already hold but not as yet on the sea”

What update was given on the Russian invasion?

He told the House of Commons that latest estimates suggest more than 2,000 Russian armoured vehicles have been destroyed or captured, including at least 530 tanks, 530 armoured personnel carriers and 560 infantry fighting vehicles.

He also confirmed to MPs that Britain was increasing its support for Ukraine by gifting Kyiv a small number of ‘Stormer’ armoured vehicles.

The 5.6 metre-long vehicles are fitted with launchers for anti-air missiles - and can carry eight ready-to-fire missiles with nine stowed inside.

The Defence Secretary told MPs this would give Ukraine’s military “enhanced short-range anti-air capabilities both day and night.”

Mr Wallace revealed to MPs that the anti-air missiles had already been in use by Ukrainian forces, after being delivered to the country more than three weeks ago.