Starstreak High Velocity Missile mounted on a Stormer Armoured Personnel Carrier

HVM Starstreak is a British short range surface-to-air missile manufactured by Thales Air Defence Limited (originally Shorts Missile Systems), in Belfast. HVM stands for "High Velocity Missile".


After launch the missile accelerates to approximately Mach 3.5, at which point it launches three laser beam riding submunitions. The use of three submunitions increases the likelihood of a successful hit on the target.


Starstreak has been in service with the British Army since 1997.

The Starstreak missile is transported in a sealed launch tube. This tube is attached to an aiming unit for firing. The operator tracks the target using the aiming unit's optically stabilized sight. The process of tracking the target allowing the aiming unit to compute the right trajectory to bring the missile together with the target. The operator can indicate wind direction to the unit, and in the case of a long range target provide super elevation. When the initial tracking is complete, the operator fires the missile by pressing a button.

The missile then fires the first stage rocket motor, which launches the missile from the tube but burns out before leaving the tube to protect the operator. When the missile is a safe distance from the operator the second stage fires, which rapidly accelerates the missile to burn out velocity of about Mach 3.5 400 m away from the operator.


As the second stage burns out the three dart submunitions are released. The darts are each 396 mm long with a diameter of 22 mm and weigh about 0.9 kg. Each dart consists of a rotating forebody with two canard fins attached to a non-rotating rear assembly which has four fins. The rear assembly also houses the electronics that guide the missile. The dart housing is made from a tungsten alloy, and contains approximately 0.45 kg of explosive with a delayed impact activated fuse.

HVM STARSTREAK Specifications
Type Short range surface-to-air missile
Manufacturer Thales
Weight 16.8kg
Warhead Three 0.9kg explosive darts
Length 1.4m
Diameter 27cm
Performance Speed Mach 3.5, range 0.3 7 km

Photo courtesy of BAe Systems