Britain wants to send to Ukraine the M270 MLRS systems, the heavier cousins of the M142 HIMARS included by Washington in the latest batch of arms aid to Kiev. Both rocket artillery systems are US-made, so the UK will need American permission for the proposed weapons transfer.
London’s intention was confirmed by British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace on Wednesday. He said the launchers will be able to strike targets up to 80 km away and offer “a significant boost in capability for the Ukrainian forces,” according to a statement released by the British Foreign Office.
Both systems fire the same types of rockets and are made by Lockheed Martin. The HIMARS is wheeled and carries fewer projectiles than the tracked MLRS. The US reportedly considered supplying both variants but opted for only the light one.
According to Politico, the British government is negotiating with the Biden administration for permission to supply the heavier launchers from its arsenal. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson talked to US President Joe Biden about the issue on Wednesday morning, a source told the news outlet. The two nations’ chief diplomats, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss of the UK and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, are to discuss it further on Thursday morning. The US is expected to give the green light to the proposal.