- Britain supplied the Starstreak anti-aircraft missile to help Ukraine defend the skies.
- The missile is already shooting down Russian helicopters and is receiving praise from Ukrainian troops.
What is the STARStreak missile that shot down the Russian helicopter?
The Times of London reported last week that video footage showed a STARStreak high-speed missile hitting a Russian Mi-28N attack helicopter. The attack was believed to have occurred in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine.
The video, which has since gone viral on social media, appears to show a helicopter. shot from the sky by a land-based missile system. The missile appears to hit the vehicle in the tail, causing it to fall to the ground.
British defense sources also told the newspaper that the video is believed to be genuine.
The STARStreak missile responsible for downing the helicopter was donated by the UK and has been used to destroy a large number of Russian aircraft and vehicles in recent weeks.
What is the STARStreak missile?
Built by Thales Air Defense, a weapon manufactured in Northern Ireland, the STARStreak missile is a short-range surface-to-air missile that has been deployed in Ukraine in recent weeks.
The portable missile system is designed to be carried on foot or by vehicle and can be launched over the shoulder. After launch, a STARStreak missile accelerates rapidly to Mach 4 – roughly 3,000 mph. It is the fastest surface-to-air missile ever built.
The technology in these weapons goes even further with three missile launchers following three laser beams. This means that with each missile there are secondary opportunities for submunitions to hit the target using laser guidance.
In service with the British army since 1997, the gun was originally designed and developed in the 1980s after the British government encouraged the development of the country’s air defense capabilities.
Thales describes the STARStreak missile as a weapon designed to take out air targets with high precision from a zero-maintenance system.
“The STARStreak High-Speed Missile is designed to provide close air defense against conventional air threats such as fixed-wing fighters and late-masking helicopter targets,” said official Thales documentation.
The missile weighs just 14 kg, has an operational range of over 7000 meters, and is designed to increase accuracy and minimize collateral damage.
‘Thank you England’
In April, Ukrainian soldiers appeared in a video thanking British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for repeatedly allowing military aid to the country.
In the video footage, Ukrainian soldiers can be heard celebrating after shooting down a Russian drone using a British-made missile. The clip shows a Ukrainian soldier firing a laser-guided STARStreak missile into the air before hitting a drone. Loud cheers from the audience can be heard.
The video was cut along with another video of soldiers thanking the British Prime Minister.
“This is Ukrainian paratroopers greeting Boris Johnson,” the soldiers say. “Thanks England. We are using it. We are using the support of the Allies effectively.”
Jack Buckby is a British writer, anti-extremist researcher and journalist based in New York. By reporting on the UK, Europe and the US, she tries to analyze and understand left and right radicalization and reports on Western governments’ approaches to today’s pressing problems. His books and research papers explore these themes and offer pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.