In a recent Ministry of Defence written response dated 8 January 2024, an inquiry was addressed regarding the UK’s assistance to Ukraine in terms of supplying uncrewed aerial systems.

The question was posed by Gregory Campbell, Shadow DUP Spokesperson for International Development and the Cabinet Office. Campbell sought details on the number of uncrewed aerial systems supplied to Ukraine by the UK in two separate periods: December 2022 to May 2023, and June to November 2023.

Responding to this query, James Heappey, the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, provided an overview of the UK’s contributions. He stated, “The UK has delivered thousands of uncrewed aerial systems to Ukraine, including logistics, loitering munitions, long-range attack and reconnaissance types.”

However, Heappey noted the limitations on the disclosure of specific details due to security concerns. “For security reasons, we will not confirm the types, exact number or delivery schedules of uncrewed aerial systems supplied,” he explained.

Additionally, Heappey highlighted the efforts made through the UK-administered International Fund for Ukraine. He informed that this initiative had delivered over 100 uncrewed aerial systems between June and November 2023.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Joe16
Joe16
2 months ago

I’m very glad that we’ve sent “thousands” of these UAVs of various types to Ukraine; they need them and we can always send more. I’d be very interested to know what we’re sending them, though, considering we have very few of these in service ourselves- particularly the loitering munitions and long range attack drones (none, unless I’m mistaken?). Hopefully we’re taking the lessons learned, and the low-scale, low-footprint production of these and applying it all to deliver a mass of effective and affordable UAVs to our armed forces. But there’s this tiny, nagging doubt in the back of my mind… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

Don’t be daft! Far too sensible.

Joe16
Joe16
2 months ago

One day, when the MOD is run by the commenters on UKDJ, we’ll once again have a military to be proud of..!

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

Except there is only rarely total agreement on here of almost anything substantial and even where there is general agreement there tends to be substantial debate and argument over the details. So not convinced if this place was given the higher profile of governance it would automatically look more united to the public at large, though the general expertise and focus would no doubt be more impressive than we see in Parliament.

Joe16
Joe16
2 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Fair enough point, as I’m sure you gathered, the suggestion was in jest.
At the very least we’d know that the best interests of the military were being pursued, whether the opinion on how to get there was completely aligned or not!

Something Different
Something Different
2 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

I completely disagree with you, we always have complete and utter consensus on everything at this site 😉

Arson Fire
Arson Fire
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

Hahahahaha

DaveyB
DaveyB
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

Stupidly the MoD cancelled its funding of the loitering munition Fire Shadow in the 2017-18 budget review. This would have given the UK similar capabilities to the Lancet drone. Bet they’re kicking themselves now!

Joe16
Joe16
2 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I hadn’t heard that- that’s one hell of an oversight / lack of forward thinking. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but even in 2017/18 the progress towards those kind of systems was pretty evident, surely?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Like just about every RA modernisation initiative since the early 2000s, after I recall hundreds of millions spent.

Rob
Rob
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

Maybe we should be putting a UAV platoon into every support Company? Discuss…

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Apart from the really small UAV like Black Hornet held by Infantry sections they all seem to be held centrally by 32 Regiment RA, the Batteries of which are then allocated to Brigades as and when needed. A Platoon for every Support Company, what changes to supply that manpower, with AT, Recc, MG, and Mortar Platoons already existing? And to the Support Companies of all Infantry Battalions? Quite a shake up. I’d also read suggestions of the RAC rec Regiments having a Troop, which again seems sensible? I think it boils down to, we do not have enough to share… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Gladly, for hours over a pint!
In short though, absolutely yes- and the sooner we do it, the better.

Rob
Rob
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

👍🏼

UKDJ
UKDJ
2 months ago

It would be great if we could invest in a mega production facility for drones that can be heavily automated and scaled up and down at need. The same goes for an R&D ecosphere center with labs, design offices, and specialised facilities or testing grounds for testing drones in EW-contested environments. You could have major companies, start-ups and even say Ukrainian engineers or drone pilots working in the same environment. The pandemic taught us that early R&D is invaluable, as are preparatory stocks and the ability to rapidly scale up production in a massive way. It just costs to have… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
2 months ago

I remember early in the war we were sending those tiny fist sized drones that were useful for urban reconnaissance. I would imagine they make up the bulk of the ‘thousands’ sent.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago

It is interesting that when it comes to other kit like armoured vehicles and artillery it is listed in some detail, but here it is not.
I suspect there are some undisclosed types in there the likes of which even the British Army do not possess, such as “long range attack” drone which I understand we may have developed.
I’m only aware of the purchase of Switchblade for certain formations.