Ukrainian forces using the UK-supplied Starstreak short-range surface-to-air missile system have reportedly shot down a Russian Mi-28 attack helicopter less than a week after the system became operational in Ukraine.
The Russian Mi-28 attack helicopter (NATO reporting name: Havoc) was flying over the Holubivka region in Luhansk Oblast when it was hit and downed by a surface-to-air missile. Videos on social media platforms show the tail of the helicopter breaking off as the missile hits.
The Times newspaper reported that the helicopter was likely shot down by Starstreak and said that a UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) source believed the video showed Starstreak in action over Ukraine. The source added that the anti-aircraft system had been deployed in the country for almost a week. The Times also reported that senior defence industry sources who examined the film also believe it to be a Starstreak missile in action.
On 16 March UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed that Starstreak air defence system would be sent to Ukraine and on 27 March he confirmed that Starstreak had been deployed and was operational in Ukraine.
Starstreak is manufactured in Belfast by Thales and provides defence against air threats including fixed-wing fighter aircraft and attack helicopters. The system can be configured in both man-portable and vehicle-mounted battlefield roles and is the fastest missile of its type in the world. With its laser beam guidance, it is highly accurate and resistant to countermeasures.
|Short-range surface-to-air missile||Thales Air Defence|
|Country of origin:||Targets:|
|United Kingdom||Fixed-wing fighters; helicopters|
|Flight speed:||Operational range:|
|Mach 3 +||300 – 7000m +|
|United Kingdom, South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Ukraine||1997 – present|
|Semi-Automatic Command to Line-Of-Sight (SACLOS)||1|
|ATASK (Air-to-Air), Lightweight Multiple Launcher (LML), Seastreak, Self-propelled (SP) HVM, Starstreak Avenger, THOR/Multi-Mission System (MMS)||Missile: 14 kg; warhead: 0.9 kg|