Thai Army orders STARStreak air defence missiles from Thales
Thales UK has been awarded a multi-million pound contract for delivery of its STARStreak very-short-range air defence missile (VSHORAD) system to the Royal Thai Army.
The contract for unspecified units makes Thailand the third customer for the missile, after UK and South African Armed Forces.
Thales UK Land Defence vice president Alex Cresswell said the company would collaborate with Thai army to ensure STARStreak's smooth delivery into-service and through life support.
"STARStreak is the leading VSHORAD system in the world today, enabling nations to protect key assets against both emerging and established threats," Cresswell added.
Announced amid official visit of the Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to London, the deal has also been welcomed by his British counterpart, David Cameron.
The contract stemmed from the missile's successful deployment during London's Olympics Games in August, where it served as a core element of the UK Army's air defence capability.
Unlike the UK Army, which favours vehicle-mounted option, the Thai Army is expected to launch the missile from a wide range of lightweight and portable launchers, as reported by Defense News.
Introduced in 1997, the STARStreak is a self-propelled high-velocity missile (SP HVM) system designed to provide close air defence against a multitude of conventional air threats, including high-speed fixed wing aircraft, unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) and late unmasking helicopter targets.
Powered by a two-stage solid propellant rocket motor, the missile also features lightweight multiple launchers (LML), which enable swift deployment against battlefield threats.
The missile is capable of reaching a maximum speed of Mach 3.5, and is also fitted with three high-density darts and laser beam riding guidance for maximum accuracy and engagement of smallest signature targets that are difficult to hit with legacy missiles.
Image: Ground-based launcher of the STARStreak air defence missile. Photo: file image.