UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace: Ukraine a “Battle Lab” Testing Lethal Weapons for Future Wars

The war in Ukraine has “tragically become a battle lab” testing lethal weapons that will inform the future structure and composition of Britain’s armed forces, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Tuesday.

His comments prefaced the release of a revised Defence Command Paper, first published before the war began, that will take into account the subsequent effectiveness of weapons given to Kyiv by its allies including the UK.

“We would be very foolish to ignore these lessons and not import them into our own armed forces,” Wallace said.

British Defense Minister Ben Wallace talks to journalists at the Estonian military base in Tapa, January 19, 2023. Britain plans to rush 600 more advanced Brimstone anti-tank guided missiles to Ukraine to help the country in its war against Russia. (Alexander Welscher/picture alliance via Getty )

Over the past year, the British government has sent nearly £4 billion to Ukraine in aid, £2.3 billion of which has come in the form of weapons, ammunition, or other military equipment.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has also pledged the UK will become the first state to supply Ukraine with “longer-range weapons” to use in the conflict, as Breitbart London reported.

Those contributions along with others will aid the revision of the paper, originally published in 2021, and set out how the UK will invest an additional £2.5bn of defence spending, the BBC reports.

The departing defence secretary, leaving after four years in the job, said change is on the way:

The war in Ukraine has focused minds because there is a very real adversary being very aggressive, breaking all the rules of war on the continent of Europe, fighting a war designed to destroy a country.
That makes us realise we had better change the risk appetite we had when we did this paper originally.
Originally we were taking things out of service, having a bit of a gap in the middle of the decade, and then we’d have the new equipment. That’s something I don’t want to risk any more.

One such lesson is the “power of electronic warfare,” the former soldier who played a key role in the UK’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine said, explaining: “The use of [electronic] warfare either to act as a decoy or to act as a defence is becoming really important, so it goes up the priority list.”

He further noted the Ukraine conflict had also concentrated minds on the use of “deep fire” artillery.

Wallace warned the conflict in Ukraine would ultimately serve as a reminder “there are bad people out there wanting to do bad things to Britain and her allies.”

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