Britain is set to supply the Ukrainian army with Starstreak MANPADS, its fastest short-range surface-to-air missile it has in its arsenal, allowing it to better deter attacks by Russian fighter aircraft.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed the planned delivery of the weapon system after speaking to British lawmakers. The British government had initially investigated whether it was possible to deliver these weapons, which are manufactured in Britain to Ukraine.
Wallace has confirmed the decision to deliver Starstreak MANPADS to Ukraine.
“Starstreak will give Ukraine’s defense a greater opportunity to counter Russian airstrikes from combat aircraft, helicopters, and drones,” said Wallace. Having delivered it however, Britain still faces the issue which is training soldiers on how to handle the MANPADS.
Britain has already delivered several weapon systems to Ukraine. A Royal Air Force military transport aircraft has delivered next-generation light anti-tank weapons (NLAW).
Initial information suggests that the UK may have delivered at least 2,000 NLAWs to Ukraine. According to a statement by Wallace, Britain has supplied 3,615 NLAW missiles to Ukraine.
About the Starstreak MANPADS system
Starstreak is a British short-range man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS), produced by Thales Air Defense. Production of the Starstreak MANPADS began in 1997 with them being used in several countries including Britain, Thailand, South Africa, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
The missiles in the system called “darts” consists of three explosive sub-munitions. Once a soldier aims the MANPADS at a target with the help of an electro-optical device, he sets in motion an operation that has three stages to it.
In the first stage, an engine is engaged to launch the rocket from the launch tube; in the second stage a booster is activated, which allows the rocket to reach a speed of Mach 4, and in the third stage, three dart sub-munitions are released.
The darts home in on the target with the help of the aiming unit which projects two laser beams which paint a two-dimensional matrix on 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 can also steered and decelerated 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.