Desperate Russian troops welding extra armour to trucks amid UK missile fears

Russian troops sent to invade Ukraine have taken to customising their vehicles with crude ‘after market' armour in a bid to combat deadly British-made anti-tank weapons.

The Anglo-Swedish next-generation light anti-tank weapon (NLAW) has been instrumental in blunting the Russian advance, turning entire armoured columns into so much scrap metal.

The NLAW has achieved cult status among Ukrainian fighters, and has struck fear into Russian troops.

The NLAW can be used in direct fire mode or in a looping overhead shot. The weapon can rapidly knock out any main battle tank in just one shot by striking it from above.

In hope of warding off the missile’s 4lb high-explosive warhead many Russian drivers have up-armoured their troop carriers and trucks with Mad Max-style modifications.

Customisation like this dates back to the earliest days of tank warfare, with metal plates and even wooden logs strapped to armoured vehicles in hope of detonating incoming warheads prematurely, preventing the full force of the explosive from penetrating the hull.

But in the modern era, sophisticated reactive armour has largely taken the place of those early experimental modifications. The sight of Russia’s hastily-customised “post apocalyptic” vehicles suggests that Russian troops don’t have much faith in the equipment they’ve been sent in to war with.

It also suggests the dread that Russians have for the NLAW. The UK is understood to have sent at least 10,000 of the Belfast-made weapons to Ukraine so far, along with Javelin anti-tank systems, Starstreak air defence systems, and sophisticated Switchblade loitering munitions.

Another advantage of the NLAW is that it requires comparatively little training before it can be used in combat.

A video emerging from the combat zone shows one Ukrainian fighter happily explaining how the “beautiful thing” in his hands has just destroyed the tank behind him.

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“I want to say a big thank you to our British comrades helping us,” the Ukrainian fighter says, holding up the now-empty missile launcher.

Authorising another shipment of the deadly missiles, the Defence Secretary Ben Wallace MP said: “Another 800 NLAWs will not only support the Ukrainian defence, but show Putin that his brutality only stiffens our resolve."

Apart from the UK's weapons shipments, Germany said it was sending 1,000 anti-tank weapons from its inventory; Norway 2,000; Sweden 5,000 and the US an unpublicised number of Javelin missile systems.

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