Thales UK’s air defence business has recently been awarded a £180 million contract to provide Britain’s ministry of defence with a further batch of Starstreak high velocity missiles (HVM).
The deal secures the Starstreak system in service as the UK’s primary ground based air defence system for defence against close range, low-level air defence threats such as helicopters and high-speed ground attack aircraft. The missiles system will now remain in service until 2020.
According to a report at <link>Army-technology.com=http://www.army-technology.com/projects/starstreak/</link>, the missile consists of a two-stage solid propellant rocket motor, a separation system and three high density darts. Power from the missile-firing unit causes the first-stage motor to ignite, which accelerates the missile. Canted nozzles on the missile cause it to roll, which in turn causes the fins to unfold for aerodynamic stability in flight.
The motor is jettisoned once it is clear of the canister. The second-stage motor ignites and accelerates the missile to a velocity greater than Mach 4. A separation system at the front end of the motor contains three darts.
When the second stage motor is burnt out, the thrust triggers the three darts to automatically separate. The darts maintain a high kinetic energy as the operator guides them to the same target.