Weapons and Kit

What Storm Shadow missiles could bring to the fight in Ukraine

Watch: Air Marshal (Retired) Greg Bagwell believes the UK provided can "really hurt the Russian effort".

Storm Shadow missiles will give Ukraine the capability to strike Russia behind its front lines, a former RAF Commander has said.

The UK became the first country to donate long-range Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine earlier this month.

Ukrainian forces have since utilised the UK-supplied cruise missiles against Russian targets, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed.

Air Marshal (Retired) Greg Bagwell, Former Deputy Commander of Operations, told Forces News there is more to the missiles than just "striking Russian soil".

"It is about striking Russia behind its frontlines within Ukrainian boundaries," he said.

"The challenge for Russia is that now, all of a sudden, their rear area, as it's known in military parlance, is now very vulnerable to attack."

Defence Secretary Mr Wallace declined to give further details about the use of the long-range cruise missile, but suggested that the Storm Shadow missiles, which have a range of 350 miles and a top speed of 621mph, could help provide some of the same capabilities to strike at Russian positions behind the frontline.

Watch: Defence Secretary Ben Wallace on Storm Shadow 'deep strike' capabilities in Ukraine.

Russia must rethink 'how it fights'

Air Marshal (Ret'd) Bagwell believes that due to the capabilities of the missiles in Ukrainian hands, they are going to have to rethink "how it fights". 

"We've seen this war on land being very much one about logistics...the sheer numbers of shells and troops and equipment having to be moved forwards to the front to sustain the war and to maintain status quo, requires a massive resupply effort.

"That resupply effort requires you to stalk it, transport kit and then distribute it to the front line.

"If you now think your logistics hubs, storage points, railheads, bridges, are now seriously under threat... then Russia is going to have to rethink how it fights."

He added: "If it's going to have to bring that stuff further away from the front or spread it more thinly or distribute it in a much more sort of clandestine way it's going to slow down its war effort, massively slow it down.

"And if we destroy it in place, it will really hurt."

Watch: How could UK's Storm Shadow and Harpoon missiles help Ukraine?

AM Bagwell explained that "this is how airpower approaches these problems".

"It doesn't wait for the enemy to, sort of, come into a trench in front of you and fight them one on one.

"What you aim to do is destroy it piecemeal at a distance.

"So, it can never bring that sort of mass, if you will, to bear."

He added: "That's what Storm Shadow finally gives Ukraine the ability to do. And if they can do that, then they will really hurt the Russian effort, really hurt it."

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