In a bid to stop the Russian army, which has begun a full-scale offensive in Eastern Ukraine, the UK is now sending advanced armored launchers to Ukraine.
Britain’s plan to send the Stormer armored missile launchers is for Ukrainian forces to cripple Russia’s air offensive. The Starstreak missiles that were earlier sent to Ukraine can be mounted on these launchers to attack aircraft.
The Starstreak missile that reportedly shot down a Russian attack helicopter recently, can be mounted on the shoulder or put on the turret of the Stormer vehicle.
The UK Ministry of Defense showcased the Stormer High-Velocity Missile (HVM) launcher for Ukrainians on Salisbury Plain two weeks ago, and the 13-tonne trucks can be rushed to the war in days aboard C-17 cargo planes.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has pleaded with the West for more weapons as Putin’s war machine launches a full-scale operation to take control of the mostly Russian-speaking Donbas region.
Boris Johnson declared on April 7 that the UK was “definitely looking at what extra military help we can give” amid suggestions that armored vehicles could be sent while Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the UK was “scaling up” its weapons delivery on the same day, as she met with NATO peers in Brussels to hear Ukraine’s demands for more equipment.
Though NATO countries have taken a strong exception to Ukraine’s demands for fighter jets for fear of escalating the conflict with Russia, they have made every effort to arm Ukraine with missiles – shoulder-mounted and turret launched to take on the superior Russian Air Force.
The Russian fighters and choppers have been flying at low altitudes to avoid being hit by the Surface-To-Air missiles of Ukraine, becoming an easy target to these anti-aircraft missiles instead.
”The Stormer/Starstreak combination will offer a major boost to Ukraine’s fighting power,” said Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British soldiers in Afghanistan.
The British aid announced earlier this month includes More than 800 more NLAW anti-tank missiles, additional Javelin anti-tank systems, additional loitering munitions, additional Starstreak air defense systems, additional non-lethal aid including ballistic helmets, body armor, and night vision goggles.
Stormer High-Velocity Missile Launcher
The Stormer HVM (High-Velocity Missile) is an air defense system. It was created largely to address the threat posed to armored formations by assault helicopters and low-flying aircraft. The defense system is currently in service with the British Army.
Starstreak HVM missiles are part of this air defense system. The first consignment of these missiles was reportedly sent to Ukraine in March after virtual training was provided to Ukrainian troops.
The launchers, as well as their target sensors, are placed in the back. The Starstreak missiles use a two-stage solid propellant rocket motor that allows them to travel faster than the speed of sound (Mach 3.5).
Earlier, the Starstreak high-velocity missile system struck a Russian Mi-28N attack helicopter over the Luhansk region, causing its tail to snap off mid-air which led to the chopper split in two halves.
The Stormer system will provide Ukraine with weaponry capable of taking out airborne targets, including low-flying helicopters and planes, as well as ground targets.
Three high-density darts with impact fuses and explosive warheads form part of each missile to ensure multiple impacts on the target. As the second stage of the engine burns out, the darts are released.
Missiles have a range of 1500 to 5500 meters and are capable of destroying even the most powerful low-flying aircraft. These missiles have a service ceiling of 1000 meters. The Starstreak HVM uses a semi-automatic line-of-sight laser beam riding guidance system. Missiles are guided on target by the operator, who uses an optically stabilized sight to track the target.
Starstreak missiles can hit ground targets as well. Darts are thought to have enough kinetic force to pierce the front armor of an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV).
The launchers hold eight ready-to-fire missiles, with up to 12 recharge missiles stowed inside the hull. The Starstreak missiles are also launched from a three-round lightweight launcher as well as a man-portable shoulder launcher.
For target recognition and prioritization, the vehicle incorporates a roof-mounted panoramic weapon sight and an air defense alerting mechanism. The Stormer air defense system can engage targets quickly and has a high hit rate.
Stormers have been steadily deactivated since 2009, according to UK MoD sources, primarily because the fear of an airborne strike on Western forces has almost completely vanished.
At a time when the Russian troops are hell-bent on delivering a decisive blow to seize the entire Donbas region from Ukraine, enhanced firepower and ease of launch could prove to be a boon for the defending troops that have so far made incredible use of the anti-aircraft missiles against the advanced Russian forces.