Starstreak missile


Starstreak missile

:"Disambiguation: Starstreak redirects here. For the Marvel comics superheroine named Starstreak see Julie Power."Infobox Weapon
name= Starstreak


caption= Starstreak missile on display at the Africa Aerospace & Defence exposition, September 2006
origin= flagicon|United Kingdom UK
type= Manportable/Vehicle mounted surface-to-air missile
is_ranged=
is_explosive=yes
is_missile=yes
is_UK=
service= 1997 - Present
used_by= See "Operators"
wars=
designer=
design_date= 1980s
manufacturer= Thales Air Defence
unit_cost=
production_date= November 1986
number= 7,000
variants= See "Variants"
spec_label= Starstreak High Velocity Missile
weight= 16.82 kg
length= 1.397 m
part_length=
width=
height=
diameter= 13 cm
crew= 1
cartridge=
caliber=
barrels=
action=
rate=
velocity=
range= 0.3–7 km
max_range=
feed=
sights= Optical sight
filling= Three explosive sub-munitions ("darts")
filling_weight= 0.9 kg
detonation= Impact Delay
yield=
armour=
primary_armament=
secondary_armament=
engine= First stage: Royal Ordnance Brambling cast double-based propellant blip rocket motor.
Second stage: Royal Ordnance Titus cast double-based propellant
engine_power=
transmission=
payload_capacity=
fuel_capacity=
pw_ratio=
suspension=
clearance=
vehicle_range=
speed= Mach 3.5 at second stage burnout
guidance= SACLOS system

Starstreak is a British short range surface-to-air missile manufactured by Thales Air Defence Limited (originally Shorts Missile Systems), in Belfast. It is also known as Starstreak HVM where HVM stands for "High Velocity Missile". After launch the missile accelerates to approximately Mach 3.5, at which point it launches three laser beam riding submunitions. The use of three submunitions increases the likelihood of a successful hit on the target. Starstreak has been in service with the British Army since 1997.

Development

Development on the missile began in the early 1980s after a study into a weapon system to supplement the Rapier missile system showed that a high velocity missile system was the best solution to the problem. A General Staff Requirement (GSR 3979) was drawn up with the requirements of the system, specifying the requirement of 3 launch platforms for the missile:

* A self-propelled launcher.
* A three round light weight launcher.
* A man portable launcher.

In 1984 the British Ministry of Defence awarded development contracts to British Aerospace and Shorts Missile Systems. Shorts won the competition and were awarded the £356 million. Further development and a production contract materialized in November 1986, and the missile was officially accepted into service in September 1997. The missile is intended to replace the Javelin surface-to-air missile in British service. The LML and shoulder-launched versions have been in use since 2000.

In July 2001, Thales received a contract for a Successor Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system for Starstreak.

In mid 2007 Thales UK in Northern Ireland revealed that it has developed Starstreak II, a much improved successor to the Starstreak missile. 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. [http://www.janes.com/events/exhibitions/dsei2007/sections/daily/day1/starstreak-ii-sighted.shtml]

Description

The Starstreak missile is transported in a sealed launch tube. This tube is attached to an aiming unit for firing. The operator tracks the target using the aiming unit's optically stabilized sight. The process of tracking the target allowing the aiming unit to compute the right trajectory to bring the missile together with the target. The operator can indicate wind direction to the unit, and in the case of a long range target provide super elevation. When the initial tracking is complete, the operator fires the missile by pressing a button.

The missile then fires the first stage rocket motor, which launches the missile from the tube—but burns out before leaving the tube to protect the operator. When the missile is a safe distance from the operator the second stage fires, which rapidly accelerates the missile to burn out velocity of about Mach 3.5 400 meters away from the operator. As the second stage burns out the three dart sub-munitions are released. The darts are each 396 millimetres long with a diameter of 22 millimetres and weigh about 0.9 kilograms. Each dart consists of a rotating fore-body with two canard fins attached to a non-rotating rear assembly which has four fins. The rear assembly also houses the electronics that guide the missile. The dart housing is made from a tungsten alloy, and contains approximately 0.45 kg of explosive with a delayed impact activated fuze.

The missiles are guided by two laser beams projected into a two dimensional matrix by the aiming unit. The laser is modulated according to its position in the projected matrix, this modulation is detected by each sub-munition and allows it to determine any steering correction. 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 9G at 7,000 meters.

On impact with the target a delayed action fuze is triggered. This gives time for the projectile to penetrate the target before the explosive warhead detonates. The tungsten housing is designed to fragment and produce maximum damage inside the target.

A demonstration was conducted in September 1999 that showed the missile being used against an FV432 armoured personnel carrier, showing the missile's effectiveness as ground-to-ground weapon. Each sub-munition dart traveling at 1,250 meters per second (2,800 mph) has comparable kinetic energy to a shell from a Bofors 40 mm gun and probably has sufficient energy to penetrate the front armour of an infantry fighting vehicle. However it lacks the armour penetration capabilities of a purpose-built anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) or a dual purpose missile such as Air Defense Anti-Tank System (ADATS).

Variants

* SP HVM: Carried on an Alvis Stormer AFV with a roof mounted eight round launcher with internal stowage for a further 12 missiles.
* LML: Fired from a Lightweight Multiple Launcher (LML) which holds three missiles ready for firing and can be used as either a stationary launch unit or mounted on a light vehicle such as a Land Rover or HMMWV (Humvee). This practice was first used with the Javelin system.
*MANPADS: man-portable, fired from the operator's shoulder.
* ATASK (Air To Air Starstreak): Fired from a helicopter. This was developed in combination with McDonnell-Douglas and Lockheed-Martin electronics between 1995 and 1998 specifically for use with the AH-64 Apache. It has yet to enter service.
* Seastreak: Two versions of a naval mounting have been demonstrated—a one-man mount similar to the LML but carrying a total of six missiles, and a close in weapon system mounting holding 24 missiles.

Performance

The Starstreak has never been used in combat, so its operational effectiveness is unknown. It has a number of advantages over infrared guided, radar guided, and radio command MCLOS/SACLOS (Blowpipe or Javelin), missiles:

* It cannot be jammed by simple flares (infrared countermeasures) or radar/radio countermeasures.
* It cannot be suppressed with anti-radar missiles.
* Its high speed makes it more likely to be able to intercept a fast moving aircraft.
* Three submunitions increase the size of the lethal area, increasing the probability that the target will be hit by at least one submunition. This is partially reduced by the missile's attack pattern (see disadvantages).
* Its high speed reduces the amount of time for effective usage of any potential countermeasure, such as the beam maneuver or illuminating the guidance laser source with an eyesight damaging battlefield laser.
* It is much quicker reacting than infrared guided MANPADS, with no seeker cooling down period required.
* The guidance laser has a low energy level, making detection more difficult for a laser warning receiver system.

However there are some disadvantages:

* The major disadvantage is that submunitions having no proximity fuze need to strike the target to do damage, a near miss would do no damage to the target.
* The guidance laser may be detected after the missile is fired, if the target aircraft is equipped with a suitable laser warning system, unlike entirely passively guided Infrared homing systems. Infrared launch signature detecting MAWS tend to be subject to a high false alarm rate, and the radar based MAWS radiate an easily detectable signal, giving away the presence of the aircraft.
* The operator can be blinded by battlefield lasers or other countermeasures.
* Battlefield obscurants such as smoke can degrade the ability of the missile operator to see the target, and can also interfere with the guidance laser.
* The training level of the operator is critical since, unlike infrared guided missiles, the operator has to track the target exactly with the sighting unit aimpoint (SACLOS).

Operators

; GBR
* LML - 135 systems
* SP HVM - 150 systems (approx); ZAF
* LML 8 systems; USA
* The U.S. Army is considering the system for use as an air-to-air missile mounted on AH-64 Apache helicopters.

References

* "Jane's Land-Based Air Defence 2005-2006", ISBN 0-7106-2697-5
*

ee also

* Similar missiles include: Strela, Igla, Stinger, Blowpipe, Javelin, Mistral.
* List of missiles

External links

* [http://www.army-technology.com/projects/starstreak/index.html Starstreak close air-defence missile - Army Technology]
* [http://www.thales-airdefence.com/subVSRS.htm Thales page on Starstreak]
* [http://www.army.mod.uk/equipment/artillery-air-defence/1509.aspx Starstreak HVM - British Army website]
* [http://www.armedforces.co.uk/army/listings/l0050.html STARSTREAK HIGH VELOCITY MISSILE - armedforced.co.uk]
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/starstreak.htm Starstreak HVM - Global Security]


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