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Starstreak High Velocity Missile

The Starstreak High Velocity Missile (HVM) system is a short range surface-to-air-missile (SAM) system that is designed to shoot down enemy aircraft.

The HVM is a laser-guided missile. The operator 'paints' the target whilst looking through an aiming unit. Once fired, an initial rocket ignition propels the missile a safe distance away from the launch unit. A secondary ignition accelerates the missile to a burn-out velocity of Mach 3.5 (3.5 times the speed of sound). Following burn-out, the missile releases 3 tungsten alloy darts filled with high explosives. These 3 darts fly in formation and strike the target, causing damage from their explosives and also from their kinetic energy. The explosives within each dart are impact delayed i.e. they wait until the darts are inside a target before detonating, thus causing more damage.

The Starstreak HVM system comes in several configurations:

  • A self-propelled launcher, typically a tracked APC
  • A three round light weight launcher
  • A man portable launcher.
Starstreak mounted on launcher
A Royal Marine with Air Defence Troop, 30 Commando IX mans a Starstreak HVM mounted on a lightweight launcher.
Image by PO(Phot) Dave Gallagher | © UK MOD / Crown Copyright 2016
Used under Open Government Licence

Starstreak fired from launcher
Air Defence Troop, 30 Commando IX fires a Starstreak from a lightweight launcher.
Image by PO(Phot) Dave Gallagher | © UK MOD / Crown Copyright 2016
Used under Open Government Licence

Starstreak - man-portable
A Starstreak HVM in shoulder-fired, man-portable configuration.
Image by PO(Phot) Si Ethell | © UK MOD / Crown Copyright 2018
Used under Open Government Licence

The HVM has been shown to also have limited effect against lightly-armoured ground targets such as some APCs.

The Royal Marines Air Defence Troop use the HVM, fitted to a three round portable launch unit, to protect 3 Commando Brigade assets from air attack.

Starstreak HVM Specifications

Trigger Impact Delay
Warhead Three 0.9 kg explosive sub-munitions
Speed Mach 3.5
Weight 16.82kg
Guidance laser
Length : 1.397m
Diameter : 13cm
Range 0.3-7km
Max Ceiling 5000m

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