Thales STARStreak HVM Man-portable Air-defence System (MANPADS)
Thales STARStreak HVM Man-portable Air-defence System (MANPADS)

UK to Provide 1,000 More Surface to Air Missiles to Armed Forces of Ukraine

The U.K. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has announced that the UK will shortly complete the delivery of approximately 1,000 additional surface to air missiles to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU). This comes in response to Ukrainian requests for more air defence capabilities, and the missiles will play a vital role in the provision of air defence for Ukraine and the protection of its critical infrastructure which is being continually targeted by Russia. The missiles can be used in conjunction with existing Armed Forces of Ukraine capabilities. The equipment consists of launchers and missiles and is capable of shooting down air targets, including Russian drones and cruise missiles. The announcement comes as Defence Secretary has visited two training sites where over 7,400 Ukrainian recruits have been trained by UK forces alongside eight partner nations.

Currently 1,900 Ukrainian recruits are in the UK taking part in the training programme and will soon return to their home country. When they complete the training, they are provided with items including combat clothing, body armour and ear defence, waterproofs and sleeping bags. Recruits are also issued with a fully stocked individual First Aid Kit after learning how to use tourniquets, field dressings and chest seals during training. Recruits leaving the UK will now be provided with extreme cold weather kits, announced by the Prime Minister today, including 25,000 set of extreme cold weather clothing, 20,000 sleeping bags and 150 insulated tents. Ukraine’s troops continue to battle to liberate their country from Russian forces as winter rapidly approaches, when temperatures can sink to minus 20°C and below in parts of the country.

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Thales Starstreak High Velocity Missile
Thales Starstreak High Velocity Missile

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said,” This commitment of hundreds more surface to air missiles continues our defensive support for Ukraine against Russian aggression – and will help Ukraine counter the threat from illegal targeting of critical national infrastructure.”

Brigadier Justin Stenhouse, Commander of the UK’s basic training for Ukrainian recruits said,”We have equipped more than 9,000 Ukrainian recruits to ensure they have the necessary personal protective equipment, including helmet, body armour and webbing, to aid them in fighting against Russian aggression. The effort to support this from across the entire logistic community has been hugely impressive and no small undertaking. The Ukrainian recruits, many of whom have little to no military experience, have shown exemplary courage, resilience, and a desire to learn which is deeply humbling to observe.”

On 16 March 2022, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced that the UK would supply Ukraine with Starstreak missiles to help prevent Russian air supremacy following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. British soldiers trained Ukrainian forces to use the system. In April 2022, Starstreak missiles were in use by Ukrainian soldiers, and it was reported that Ukrainian forces appeared to have successfully used the system to shoot down a Russian Mi-28N attack helicopter. The Martlet also has been used by the Armed Forces of Ukraine to shoot down multiple Russian aircraft during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. They have been launched from MANPAD shoulder launchers and also from the Alvis Stormer armoured air defence vehicle. The systems were donated by the UK as part of a package of military aid.

Thales Martlet Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM)
Thales Martlet Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM)

Starstreak is a British short-range surface to air missile that can be used as a man-portable air-defence system (MANPADS) or in heavier systems, manufactured by Thales Air Defence (formerly Shorts Missile Systems), in Belfast, Northern Ireland. 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 existence. It then launches three laser beam-riding submunitions, increasing the likelihood of a successful hit on the target. Starstreak has been in service with the British Army since 1997. Starstreak has a number of advantages over infrared homing guided, radar homing guided, and radio command guidance MCLOS/SACLOS (e.g. Blowpipe or Javelin) missiles:
It cannot be jammed by infrared countermeasures or radar/radio countermeasures.
It cannot be suppressed with anti-radar missiles.

Martlet is a lightweight air-to-surface, surface-to-air, and surface-to-surface missile developed by Thales Air Defence for the United Kingdom. It is named after a mythical bird from English heraldry that never roosts, the martlet. The Martlet uses technology from an earlier Thales (formerly Shorts Missile Systems) missile, the Starstreak. Developed as the Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) to meet the UK’s “Future Air-to-Surface Guided Weapon (Light)” requirement, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) placed an initial order for 1,000 missiles with deliveries due to start in 2013. However, initial operating capability was considerably delayed and took place in 2021 with full operating capability anticipated in 2024. The missile was given the name “Martlet” in British service.

Thales Martlet Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM)
Thales Martlet Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM)

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