NATO troops near the Ukraine-Poland border will be receiving the Sky Saber system, which the British government says can intercept “24 tennis balls all traveling at the speed of sound simultaneously”.
Image: Sergeant Tom Evans)
Britain is sending a high-tech missile defense system to Poland to protect the NATO country from Russian fighter jets and drones.
Around 100 British troops will be deployed to operate the Sky Saber weapon, which only entered service with the Army and RAF in December. It was to be used by the army two years ago.
It comes after Russia fired 30 cruise missiles at a military base a few kilometers from the Ukraine-Poland border.
The deployment was announced by Defense Secretary Ben Wallace during a visit to Poland, which borders war-torn Ukraine and Russia’s key ally Belarus.
He said: “We will deploy the Sky Saber medium-range anti-aircraft missile system to Poland with around 100 personnel to ensure that we stand by Poland’s side, protecting its airspace from any further Russian aggression. .”
Boris Johnson’s spokesman said: “This is a ground-based air defense capability supporting the Polish Armed Forces at the request of the Polish Government.
“This is, as always, a purely defensive capability that we provide on a bilateral basis to Poland.
“It will remain under British control at all times.
“A hundred people will be deployed alongside it – they are needed to operate the Sky Saber system.
“This is a short-term deployment that will be monitored.”
The ten and a half foot surface-to-air missile is operated by the 16th Regiment Royal Artillery, based at Baker Barracks, Thorney Island, Hants.
It is designed to provide “simultaneous 360-degree coverage and high maneuverability”.
Announcing its arrival in army service, the Ministry of Defense said: “Sky Saber marks a huge leap forward in the ability of the UK armed forces to defend themselves against fast jet fighters, missiles and even bombs. dropped.
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“Its accuracy and agility mean it is capable of intercepting an incoming tennis ball-sized object traveling at Mach 1.”
The military said the system could intercept “24 tennis balls all moving simultaneously at the speed of sound”.
No10 declined to ‘speculate what it might or might not be used for’.
But NATO leaders fear that Russian planes and drones attacking Ukraine could stray into Polish airspace – encroaching on alliance territory.
This would immediately raise the stakes of escalating the conflict, with Russia effectively invading NATO territory.
Such an incursion could trigger NATO’s collective defense clause – Article V – which states that an attack on one member nation is an attack on the entire organization.
Coalition defense ministers met in Brussels this week to agree to bolster defenses on the alliance’s eastern flank following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
When asked if it was a response to Russian shelling near the Polish border, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘I wouldn’t say it’s in response to a specific issue. .
“I think we have always seen that, both within NATO and bilaterally with our European counterparts, we want to ensure that Europe’s borders are well protected in light of the aggression that we continue to see. from Putin.”