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City-based Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) under the Ministry of Defence and Thales have signed a ‘Teaming Agreement’ to work in partnership on the ‘STARStreak Air Defence system ‘with the support of both the Governments of India and the United Kingdom. The system is to be developed under the ‘Make in India’ programmes.

Highlights

  • Thales, a French Multinational Company has signed an agreement with the Bharat Dynamics Limited, a Government of India enterprise to jointly work on STARStreak Air Defence System.
  • The ‘STARStreak Missile System’ is in service in the British Army and has been procured by defence forces worldwide.
  • It is touted to be the fastest missile in its category and the missile system is unique due to its three laser-guided darts, which cannot be jammed by any known countermeasure.
  • The system also has the capability to defeat any air target – even armored helicopters – as the last line of defence, said an official spokesman.

STARStreak Air Defence System

Starstreak is a British short range man-portable air-defence system (MANPADS) manufactured by Thales Air Defence (formerly Shorts Missile Systems), in Belfast. It is also known as Starstreak HVM (High Velocity Missile). After launch, the missile accelerates to more than Mach 4, making it the fastest short-range surface-to-air missile in the world. It then launches three laser beam riding submunitions, increasing the likelihood of a successful hit on the target.

Development on the missile began in the early 1980s after an evaluation of missile and gun options to increase air defence capabilities showed that a high-velocity missile system would best meet the needs and could also replace existing shoulder-launched missiles.

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. Four meters away from the operator, when the missile is a safe distance away, the second stage fires, which rapidly accelerates the missile to burn out velocity of more than Mach 4. As the second stage burns out, three dart sub-munitions are released.

Advantages

  • The STARStreak Air Defence System cannot be jammed by infrared countermeasures.
  • The STARStreak Air Defence System has been optimized to engage attack helicopters.
  • The speed of the system makes it difficult for the pilots to evade.
  • The STARStreak Air Defence System cannot be suppressed with anti-radar missiles.

Disadvantages

  • The STARStreak Air Defence System does not have proximity fuse. This makes it compulsory for its missiles to collide with the target in order to harm it.
  • The high speed of the system makes it difficult to intercept a fast-moving aircraft. However, it can intercept the fast-moving targets that are head on with the missile.

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