Ukraine gets Starstreak HVM – Mach 4, laser beam ammo, impact delay

LONDON, ($1=0.76 British Pounds) — Britain will provide the Ukrainian army with the fastest short-range surface-to-air missile, which will allow better resistance to air attacks by Russian aircraft, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned, citing information from British and American media. This is Starstreak MANPADS.

Ukraine gets Starstreak HVM - Mach 4, laser beam ammo, impact delay
Photo credit: GOV.uk

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed the news yesterday, March 9, after speaking to British lawmakers. According to Wallace, the government of Boris Johnson initially investigated whether it was possible to deliver these weapons, which are manufactured in Britain. However, Wallace later confirmed that the decision had been made and Ukraine would receive Starstreak MANPADS.

Wallace believes Starstreak will give Ukraine’s defense a greater opportunity to counter Russian airstrikes from combat aircraft, helicopters, and drones. According to the Minister, however, there remains a problem to be solved and this is the training of staff on how to handle this MANPADS.

UK supplies

In addition to Starstreak, which is to be delivered, London has already made several deliveries to Kyiv. Defense News reports that shortly before Russia declared war and invaded Ukraine, Royal Air Force military transport aircraft delivered next-generation light anti-tank weapons [NLAW].

According to initial information, Great Britain should have delivered at least 2,000 NLAW to Ukraine, but after Wallace’s statement, it became clear that the number is exactly 3,615 missiles of this type. Wallace confirmed that the supplies were from the kingdom’s military reserves and did not violate the optimally maintained amount of weapons to ensure the safety of Britain.

Starstreak MANPADS

Starstreak is a British short-range man-portable air-defense system [MANPADS], which is a product of Thales Air Defense. The system began production in 1997 until today and is in service in several countries, which are: Britain, South Africa, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia.

The missiles in the system are called “darts” – Three explosive sub-munitions. After the soldier targets the target with the help of the electro-optical device, he produces a shot that activates three stages of operation. The first stage drives an engine that launches the rocket from the launch tube, thus ending its activity. The second stage follows, in which a booster is activated, which allows the rocket to reach a speed of Mach 4. When the second stage is over, the third is activated, which releases three dart sub-munitions.

Ukraine gets Starstreak HVM - Mach 4, laser beam ammo, impact delay
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The darts do not home in laser energy reflected from the target but instead, the aiming unit projects two laser beams which paint a two-dimensional matrix upon the target. The lasers are modulated and by examining these modulations the sub-ammunition’s sensor can determine the dart’s location within the matrix. The dart is then steered to keep it in the center of the matrix.

The sub-munitions steer by briefly decelerating the rotating fore-body with a clutch. The front wings then steer the missile in the appropriate direction. The three sub-munitions fly in a formation about 1.5 meters in radius and have enough kinetic energy to maneuver to meet a target evading at 9 g at 7,000 meters.

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