SHAH ALAM: The Armed Forces conducted the first live firings of the Starstreak VSHORAD system at the Tanjung Logok ground to air firing range near Kota Tinggi on Monday. The firing involved personnel from the three services of the Armed Forces.
The Starstreak missiles were from a consignment of the VSHORAD system delivered just three days before the firing took place. It was because of this the gunners did not conduct any test firings ahead of the event although they did trained to track the target – a Banshee drone – several days prior to the exercise. The 26 shooters involved were trained in two batches at Thales facility in the UK, in October, 2015 and February, this year .
Three missiles were fired on Monday at the Banshee drone with all declared as technical hits. They cancelled the fourth firing as they had ran out of time allocated. The range is located on the busy air-route to Singapore and the Senai airports.
According to Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, the consignment – the current Starstreak VSHORAD system – were made available as per the contract for the missiles signed last year.
Under the deal, the Armed Forces will be getting the Thales Integrated Advanced Air Defence system, ForceShield. In addition to the Starstreak missiles, the system comprises ControlMaster 200 radar and weapon coordination systems, RapidRanger and RapidRover mobile weapon systems and the Next Generation (NG) Lightweight Multiple Launcher (LML), as well as associated communications.
As part of the deal also, Thales also took back the retired Starburst missile inventory with the Armed Forces and replaced them with the launchers and missiles which were used during the firing exercise on Monday.
Hishammuddin did not say how many launchers and missiles were delivered but it is likely that it was not a 1-to-1 replacement for the retired Starburst system.
The minister said the first Starstreak NG system will be delivered in 2018 with the first consignments going to the RMAF and RMN air defence units.
The Starstreak missiles in country are now mostly under the inventory of the RMAF Skuadron 401. The unit will be working with Global Komited to integrate the mobile launcher variant – RapidRover on the Weststar GK-M1 Weapon Platform.
It is likely the Army’s Grup Artileri Pertahanan Udara (GAPU) will be the last to receive the Starstreak missiles, but for that inconvenient, they will get the RapidRanger – the fully stabilised launcher – version of the system.
Contrary to what I reported previously, the Malaysian RapidRanger version will be fitted on the Weststar GK-MK1 Weapon Platform and not on the Vamtac Uro, which is supplied by another company.
After the missile exercise, Hishammuddin flew on a AW109 of the PUTD to witness another live firing demonstration. I cannot say anything more about that! You can make your own deduction of what had happened from the screenshot below.
Unfortunately as my camera froze up at the firing range, I was unable to take any videos of the firing exercise. However you can opt to watch the video of the firings uploaded to the Kementerian Pertahanan Youtube channel.
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