A campaign has been launched to bolster defence innovation in support of Ukraine's armed forces, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has announced.
A £25m fund has been made available to support the design and delivery of innovative equipment to Ukraine as heavy fighting continues in the east of the country following Russia's invasion.
The UK defence industry is being challenged to continue developing more battle-winning ideas to help Ukraine and the competition will be focused on four categories, including helping to supply artillery, coastal defence and unmanned aerial systems.
Defence procurement minister Jeremy Quin said: "Since Russia's brutal invasion UK defence suppliers with active support from MOD and DE&S (Defence Equipment & Support) have taken equipment from desktop ideas to the frontline.
"This £25m plus fund is designed to capture ongoing work and support innovative ideas to meet Ukrainian defence requirements."
Mr Quin noted that in recent months the "ingenuity and innovation of the UK defence sector" has been shown.
He added: "We want to ensure ongoing creativity is harnessed and directed at key requirements and all companies with a capability that can help are aware of the challenge."
The UK has already committed more than £2.8bn to support Ukraine through humanitarian aid and grants, as well as military kit, including 120 armoured vehicles, air defence systems and more than 6,500 anti-tank missiles.
The MOD said that by working closely with the industry, innovative ideas have quickly reached theatre, this includes adapting existing weapons like integrating the Brimstone missile for use as a ground-launched weapon.
Watch: British Brimstone missiles operated by Ukrainians appeared to destroy Russian tanks in Ukraine earlier this month.
The defence innovation fund requirements fall into four categories:
- Artillery – Procurement and manufacturing proposals to support the resupply of ammunition and the maintenance of Soviet calibre 152mm and 122mm weapon systems.
- Coastal defence – Supporting the deterrence of hostile naval forces, persistent surveillance, and delivery of attacks at range, including from autonomous or remotely-controlled vehicles.
- Military logistics and resupply – Maintenance and development of infrastructure for supply lines by sea and land, including waterways, overbridging and general Ukrainian engineering capability.
- Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) – The provision of UAS capabilities across a broad spectrum of capabilities, from lethal effects to surveillance, electronic warfare and heavy lift.
The MOD says industry organisations will need to submit proposals by 10 June, with at least £25m of funding made available.
The initial focus will be on equipment that can be sourced and supplied in the next four months, with longer-term capability development in scope where applicable.