Ukraine

Has Ukraine used British missile the UK Armed Forces has only just accessed?

Footage appears to show Ukrainian troops shooting down a Russian drone with a Martlet missile – one the UK military is only just receiving.

Footage has emerged of Ukrainian troops celebrating after apparently shooting down a Russian drone with, what was described as, the STARStreak missile system sent to the country by the UK.

The launcher that appears in the footage is indeed from a STARStreak system, but the missile, it appears, is not.

After a closer look, it appears the missile is the British Martlet, a weapon being tested by UK troops that is yet to be fully deployed by the UK Armed Forces.

And the footage emerging from Ukraine is the first time it has ever been seen in combat, with it fired from a shoulder launcher.

What is the Martlet missile?

Known to the British Military as the Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM), the Martlet was initially designed to help the Royal Navy combat swarms of small, unmanned attack boats.

It has been fired from Wildcat helicopters and installed on at least one Royal Navy warship – Type 23 Frigate HMS Sutherland.

Watch: Ukraine – how do you counter the threat of a drone strike?

How does it work?

The LMM uses a laser-guided beam rider system and, when it is fired from the shoulder, the operator tracks the target in their sight and fires.

The user is then able to make small adjustments to the flight of the missile using a joystick. Thales, the weapon's manufacturer, says it can hit targets more than 6km away.

It flies at half the speed of STARStreak, but carries a larger, high-explosive warhead and is designed to detonate close to a target, spraying it with blast fragmentation – particularly effective against drones.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) won't confirm whether the Martlet has been sent to Ukraine, but it appears the UK has given Ukraine one more way to hit back.