Starstreak missile being launched

Starstreak High Velocity Missile

Thales Air Defence - Makers of the Starstreak

Starstreak High Velocity Missile

The Starstreak High Velocity Missile (HVM) system is a close range surface to air missile (SAM), which has the capability to engage lightly armored land vehicles although the missile's main strengths is when combating air targets.

The system is manufactured by Thales Air Defence Ltd (TADL), previously Shorts Missile Systems, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Starstreak HVM system has been in use with the British Army ever since 1997. After launch, the missile increases speed to roughly Mach 3.5, upon which it starts on three laser beam riding sub-munitions. The use of three sub-munitions adds to the probability of a definite hit on the target.

Starstreak Missile Being Launched

Starstreak Missile Development

At the beginning of the 1980s, the process of development on the missile was in order to balance or add to the Rapier missile system after a military review. The conclusions of the review indicated that the optimal alternative would be represented by a high speed missile system.

In 1984, the British Ministry of Defence granted development agreements to British Aerospace and Shorts Missile Systems. Shorts came first in the contest and were given the corresponding financing. Additional progress and a manufacture contract took place about two years later, in Autumn 1986. One year after the making of the manufacture contract, in September 1997, the approval of the missile's use was given. The missile is designed as a substitute for the Javelin SAM in British service. The LML and the man portable (shoulder launching) types of Starstreak HVM have been in operation since 2000. Thus, Starstreak High Velocity Missile goes on with the progress course of both Blowpipe and Javelin. It can be shoulder launched, let off from the Lightweight Multiple Launcher (LML) or vehicle transported on the Alvis Stormer APC, which has an 8 round launcher.

The Mach 3 Starstreak I missile introduced in 1997 displays an upper limit parabolic range of 6,000 meters against in the air lower 5,000 meters of height. The missile weighs 16 kilograms, is 1.39 meters in length and 270mm in diameter (thickness). It can engage fixed- and rotary-wing targets at ranges from 300 meters to 6,000 meters making available air defense ability to land forces. Other than the United Kingdom, South Africa is the single acknowledged export buyer of this weapon device.

During 2007, Thales UK in Northern Ireland made it public that they have built up Starstreak II, a superior descendant of the Starstreak projectile. Some of the advantages included in this new missile are an improved range of 7 kilometres, an improved targeting system and the ability to operate it at much higher altitudes.

Battlefield Deployment of the Starstreak Missile

The Starstreak has never been used in battle, therefore its battlefield ability and overall performance is not known. The Starstreak High Velocity missile is intended for function in all parts of a combat zone, from fast-response tasks to the protection of leading edge armored forces. The missile is a laser-beam riding system, one of its kind, which, because of its particularly precise laser control and rapid duration of flight, can overcome a mixture of threats, together with airborne targets such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and helicopters, added to exterior targets, stationary systems or stands. The mixed kinetic power and warhead guarantee that target kill can be achieved from even a single dart hit. The same Starstreak High Velocity Missile can be set up on an extensive range of platforms, from a plain trivet to the more complex systems based on vehicle-borne use of the device.

Starstreak Missile

Starstreak Missile Countermeasures

The starstreak missile countermeasure aviodance gives it advantages compared against infrared directed, radar guided, and radio control MCLOS/SACLOS missiles. The HVM cannot be blocked (confused) by plain flares (infrared countermeasures - IRCMs) or by radar / radio countermeasures. The AN/ALQ-144 or AN/ALQ-157 systems used for helicopter defense, shall not, in theory, countermeasure the Starstreak High Velocity Missile.

Anti-radar missiles do not have the capability to intercept the Starstreak, the high velocity of the device decreases the time for successful employment of any probable countermeasure, such as the beam tactic or lighting the control laser origin with sight destructive combat zone laser. Finally, the direction-indicating laser has a small energy rank, which renders recognition (and, thus, countermeasure) more complicated for a laser detection receiver device.

Supporting Systems - Starstreak Missile Firing Systems

The Starstreak High Velocity Missile is carried in a closed up launch cylinder. For the purpose of firing, such a cylinder is connected to a target-seeking element. The one who operates the system follows the target by means of the target seeking element's optically steadied display. Once fired the first phase rocket motor ignites which launches the missile from the cylinder. However, it is exhausted prior to getting out of the cylinder - for the purpose of shielding the missile operator.

Once the missile is at a harmless distance from the operator, the second phase rocket motor will fire. This one quickly speeds up the missile to burn out speed of approximately Mach 3.5, at a distance of 400 meters from the operator. As the second phase is used up, the three dart sub-munitions are out. Each dart is made up of a revolving fore-body with two canard fins connected to a non-revolving back installation including four fins. In addition, the back installation contains the electronic components that direct the missile device. The missiles are controlled (for the indication of the direction) by two laser beams into a 2D matrix by the target seeking element. The laser is adjusted in relation to its situation in the anticipated medium. Such adjustment is identified by each of the sub-munitions. In this manner, it makes it possible for the missile device to find out any course-plotting adjustment. The sub-munitions turn by slowing down for a split second the revolving fore-body with a clasp. Next, the front arms guide the projectile in the proper direction. The three sub-munitions take off in a configuration approximately 1.5 meters in radius, and have sufficient kinetic power to move to hit a target dodging at 9G at 7 kilometers.

Once the collision with the target takes place, a delayed action fuze activates, which makes it possible for the missile to break through the target before the unstable warhead sets off. The tungsten covering is intended to disintegrate and generate the greatest damage in the interior of the target.

Starstreak High Velocity Missile

Starstreak Variants - Upgrades

We can count five variants to the Starstreak HVM. One is the Starstreak SP HVM (Self-Propelled High Velocity Missile). It is fixed with a roof-installed Air Defence Alerting Device (ADAD) made available by Thales Optronics. It is transported on an Alvis Stormer AFV. The infrared scanner and processor of such device offer rapid target finding, while the system mechanically slides the weapon sight on the mark. The employment this device will for s short time call for the transporting vehicle to be at a stop. The second is the above-mentioned LML. It is triggered from a Lightweight Multiple Launcher (LML) including three missiles set for firing. One can use it as a stationary launch device or placed on a light motor vehicle, for instance a Land Rover.

A third variant is MANPADS, which is transportable by man and the operator activates it from his shoulder. The man-transportable shoulder-launched Starstreak is put together and set to shoot in a small number of seconds. Preparation for shooting means snipping a target-seeking unit on the missile container. The fourth is ATASK (Air-to-Air Starstreak), which is activated while airborne, from a helicopter. Finally, the fifth is Seastreak, with two alternatives tried - one similar to the Lightweight Multiple Launcher and the other one being a move-in weapon device with no less than twenty-four missiles.

Starstreak High Velocity
Weapon Set off: Impact Delay
Weapon: Three 0.9 kg explosive sub-munitions
Velocity: Mach 3.5
Size: Length : 1.4 km, Thickness: 270
Mass: 16.82 kg
Steering Laser
Range 0.3 - 7 km
Max Ceiling 5 km

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