LONDON — Light artillery pieces donated to Ukraine by Britain’s Ministry of Defence are to be repaired and maintained locally under a deal agreed by the two governments.

The new servicing arrangement for the BAE Systems-built L119 guns replaces a maintenance plan for the 105mm guns that currently entails shipping them outside of the country for repairs.

Officials announced the agreement to use a Ukrainian plant during an April 9 British trade mission to Kyiv, which saw the two sides sign a new defense pact aimed at encouraging cooperation on defense and industrial issues.

The British, along with other European arms makers, are eager to boost ties with Ukraine as the war with Russia opens up possible opportunities for local production. Twenty-nine British companies joined the trade mission, the second of its kind in recent months.

BAE is cooperating with British-based company AMS Integrated Solutions in providing the in-country repair and maintenance capability for the L119.

The two companies signed a teaming agreement last December to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul services on BAE-supplied weapons from existing facilities in Ukraine.

Aside from the towed light artillery, the company has supplied other weapon types to Ukraine, including AS90 tracked 155mm howitzers and Challenger 2 main battle tanks.

Kyiv has also signed a statement of intent with Sweden to explore possible support and production of the CV90 family of armored vehicles, made by the Swedish arm of BAE and donated to Ukraine by Stockholm.

Maj. Gen. Anna-Lee Reilly, director of operations at Defence Equipment and Support, the Ministry of Defence’s procurement and support arm, said the AMS-operated facility could become a center for the support of several other weapons systems.

“The repair facility that has been secured is scalable to provide a similar capability for U.K. and other nations’ systems,” she said.

The light gun support deal could be a stepping stone to Ukraine building the L119 in the country.

During a visit by BAE CEO Charles Woodburn to Kyiv last August the company said it was setting up a local office. Exploring potential partners and how it could eventually facilitate the production of the light gun locally was one of the issues being studied, BAE said at the time.

Alexander Kamyshin, Ukraine’s minister of strategic industries, said in a statement issued during the British trade mission that the U.K. was making progress towards building local production capabilities.

“It was British defense companies that were the first to open their offices here after the start of the great war. Our partnership is developing, and today we are one step closer to British manufacturers being the first to start producing their weapons in Ukraine,” said Kamyshin.

Andrew Chuter is the United Kingdom correspondent for Defense News.

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