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UK air defense weakened, vulnerable to missile and drone attacks - Sky News

UK air defense weakened, vulnerable to missile and drone attacks - Sky News UK air defense weakened, vulnerable to missile and drone attacks (Getty Images)

The UK could be vulnerable to mass missile and drone attacks like those experienced by Ukraine. The country's air defense has been devastated, reports Sky News.

Military sources of the media and Cold War veterans say that decades of defense spending cuts have undermined Britain's air defense. Previously, it was one of the best in the world.

Defense chiefs are exploring options to restore Britain's ability to defend critical infrastructure such as power stations, military bases, and government facilities from ballistic missiles used by Russia to devastate Ukraine.

However, a reliable integrated air and missile defense plan could cost billions of pounds. In such a case, Britain would need to further increase defense spending after recently raising military expenditures to 2.5% of GDP.

"Can the UK defend its cities from the skies if there was a barrage of missiles? No. Do the public know what to do in the event of an air attack? No... Put simply, are we defended? No," said a high-ranking defense source anonymously.

Sky News also showcased British Bloodhound anti-aircraft systems introduced in 1958 but now in museums.

UK air defense weakened, vulnerable to missile and drone attacks - Sky News

These systems were decommissioned in 1991. Previously, ground-based systems were scattered around Britain's coast and were part of a multi-tiered air defense system during the Cold War. Squadrons of fast jet aircraft were also reduced at that time to save money.

A veteran technician from the British Royal Air Force comments that Britain is not as well defended compared to the 1970s and 1980s.

The situation is further complicated by the increasing number of missiles and drones produced by Russia, Iran, China, and North Korea.

British aircraft and ships

Currently, the Royal Air Force has only nine frontline squadrons of fast jet aircraft, including quick reaction alert aircraft. These include modern fighters like the F-35 and Typhoon.

During the Cold War, Britain had 30 frontline squadrons.

Britain has also six Type 45 destroyers equipped with air defense systems. But only three of them are currently ready for defense, including one participating in operations in the Middle East.

In the event of a threat from Russia, Britain benefits from its geographical position. But European countries separating Russia and Britain have also reduced their air defense capabilities.

Ukraine's air defense

During a full-scale war, Ukraine strengthened its air defense. Partners provided Ukraine with samples of modern anti-aircraft missile systems like the Patriot, IRIS-T, SAMP/T, and other more mobile systems.

Mobile fire groups were also created, mainly to counter enemy kamikaze drones. Ukraine will also receive F-16 fighters.

However, Ukraine still lacks sufficient air defense assets to fully protect its airspace. Ukraine especially needs anti-aircraft missile systems capable of destroying Russian ballistic and aeroballistic missiles.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced that Ukraine's priority is acquiring Patriot and SAMP/T anti-aircraft missile systems.