UK to supply M270 rocket launchers to Ukraine to fend off Russian aggression

Adding capability to strike targets over 50 miles away.
Ameya Paleja
An M270 MLRS shooting Lockheed Martin

The U.K. has decided to aid Ukraine's war effort by supplying multiple-launch rocket systems and boosting the capability of Ukrainian forces, even after Russia has warned against the West extending military support, Business Insider reported.  

Russian aggression in Ukraine has now crossed the 100-day mark, and the Ukrainian troops continue to defend their territories with the military support provided by Western nations. Days after the conflict began, the U.S. government provided an $800 million military package to Ukraine, including the famous Stinger missiles and anti-armor systems. 

While Ukraine has deployed its indigenous drones to attack the aggressors, U.K.-made anti-aircraft missiles have also helped counter aerial threats. Days after the U.S. declared that it would supply the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMRAS) to Ukraine, the U.K. has agreed to provide M270 multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) and munitions to support them. 

What is the M270 MLRS? 

The M270 is a self-propelled, highly mobile, armored, and automatic launcher system that can fire surface to surface rockets and missiles. Operated by a three-person crew, the launcher has a family of munitions that can be fired from it in less than a minute, the website of its manufacturer, Lockheed-Martin claims

Weighing about 55,000 pounds (25,000 kg), the M270 consists of a loader launcher module mated to an M993 Carrier Vehicle, a derivative of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle chassis. Powered by a diesel engine, the M270 has a range of about 300 miles (480 km) and can travel at top speeds of 40 miles an hour (64 kph). 

The M270 can fire 12 Guided or Extended Range rockets, four precision strike missiles, or two Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) from the launcher. Due to their speed and repertoire of munitions, the M270s were extensively used in the Cold War period. Their mission was to spread out individually and fire rapidly at targets and then reload and assume a new hiding position before appearing in a new position to open fire again. 

The U.K.'s hand of help

In a press release U.K.'s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace also said that along with the M270s, the country would provide the M31A1 munitions at scale to support the war effort. 

The M31 is a unique munition that uses the M270 launcher to fire point artillery. The M31 is designed to hit targets with high accuracy and low collateral damage using a single warhead and GPS guidance. The M31A1 is also equipped with a proximity airburst mode in the open or can be used with a delay fuse against lightly fortified bunkers. The munition can be fired at targets as far as 50 miles (80 km), Business Insider reported. 

The U.K. was the first country to supply lethal aid to Ukraine and, with its latest announcement, continues to support the Ukrainian cause. The government's press release also said that Ukrainian troops would be trained in the U.K. 

"These highly capable multiple-launch rocket systems will enable our Ukrainian friends to better protect themselves against the brutal use of long-range artillery, which Putin’s forces have used indiscriminately to flatten cities," said Ben Wallance, U.K.'s Defense Secretary in the press release. 

The impact of the Western-supplied military prowess at Ukraine's disposal has irked Russia, which has warned Ukraine over accepting further help. "As Russia’s tactics change, so must our support to Ukraine," Wallace added. 

message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron