The air-launched Storm Shadow missile is being used to great effect in Ukraine, the UK said.
The UK-supplied weapon is performing “almost without fault,” Defence Minister Ben Wallace said.
Russia has accused Ukraine of striking a bridge linking Kherson to Crimea with the weapon.
Storm Shadow missiles provided to Ukraine by the UK are striking their targets with near-pinpoint accuracy, sending Russian operations into disarray, the UK said on Monday.
UK defence minister Ben Wallace said in a statement to the House of Commons that “the Storm Shadow missile has had a significant impact on the battlefield.”
“Its accuracy and ability to deliver successfully the payload, as sent and designed by the Ukrainians, has been almost without fault,” he added.
According to its manufacturer, MBDA Systems, the air-launched missile has a range exceeding 155 miles and is designed to fly low after launch in order to evade detection.
An onboard infrared target-seeking system allows it to recognize pre-planned targets for a precision strike, MBDA claims.
The missile’s range means it can strike dramatically beyond the reach of the much-celebrated HIMARS launchers sent by the US to Ukraine, which were modified to keep their range within about 50 miles, as The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Storm Shadow’s impact on the Russian army in Ukraine has been primarily around its logistics, and command and control, Wallace said.
After being pummeled last year by HIMARS, Russian forces adapted by moving their command and control nodes out of range, Wallace told the UK parliament.
This is “why deep fires became important,” he said, urging Ukraine’s allies to provide further long-range equipment.
On June 22, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu accused Ukraine of using the missiles to strike the Chonhar Bridge, a key conduit connecting Russian-held Kherson to Crimea, the Telegraph reported.
Ukraine did not immediately claim responsibility for the strike, which saw extensive damage to the bridge. But a defense intelligence spokesperson nonetheless promised “more of this,” according to the newspaper.
A strike on the bridge using a Storm Shadow missile would be within the bounds of UK conditions for Ukraine’s use of the weapon, which are intended to be fired on Ukrainian territory only — a long-held condition of Western-provided military aid.
Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014 but nonetheless remains recognized as Ukrainian sovereign territory by the vast majority of the international community.
Russia, however, had warned that strikes on Crimea using Western-supplied weapons “would mean that the United States and Britain would be fully dragged into the conflict.” It also threatened retaliation on “decision-making centers in Ukraine,” The Telegraph reported.
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