Starstreak Missile Perfect In First Air Defense Firings
ORLANDO, Florida, December 16th, 1998 -- The Shorts Starstreak missile, mounted on a U.S. Army AH-64A Apache attack helicopter, was six-for-six during a series of air-to-air defense, live-fire tests against static and airborne helicopter targets at the Army's Yuma Proving Ground facility in Arizona October 27-November 12.
The beam-riding, dart-firing, hypervelocity missile racked up the longest range air-to-air "kill" ever recorded by a U.S. helicopter during its maiden test-firing series. Missile guidance was provided by the Starstreak air-to-air laser system in combination with the Apache's Target Acquisition Designation System (TADS), a Lockheed Martin product. A unique design, Starstreak ejects three low-drag, hypervelocity darts early in its flight. The darts are guided to the target within a laser beam that automatically follows the target tracker. It only takes one explosive dart to defeat the target.
The test series progressed through increasingly challenging situations:
Shorts Missile Systems, which developed and builds Starstreak as an operational ground-based air defense weapon, has joined with Lockheed Martin and Boeing in an Army-funded demonstration of the system's capabilities as a helicopter air defense system.
The air-to-air version of Starstreak is designed to provide helicopters with a decisive capability on the 21st-century battlefield. Starstreak's beam-riding guidance makes it immune to all known countermeasures. The missile's extremely high velocity facilitates the destruction of most targets in less than four seconds, limiting pilot exposure by destroying a target before it can engage.
Shorts Missile Systems (SMS), based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is a world leader in the design and manufacture of close-air defense systems and its products are in service with 47 armed forces around the world. SMS is the U.K.'s prime contractor in very short range air defense systems and employs 500 people in Belfast.
With company headquarters located in Orlando, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is a world leader in electro-optics, smart munitions, anti-armor and air defense systems. The company is an operating element of Lockheed Martin Electronics Sector, based in Bethesda, Maryland.