In the early 60s, the British company Shorts Missile Systems began the development of a portable anti-aircraft missile system designed to protect small units from military strikes aviationoperating at low altitudes. Once again, the specialists of the company, located in the Irish city of Belfast, went along their original path.
At about the same time, the development of similar-purpose anti-aircraft complexes was carried out in the USA and the USSR. When choosing a guidance system for anti-aircraft missiles of portable complexes, here and abroad, preference was given to the homing head, which reacted to the heat of the jet engine. As a result, the independent Strela-2M MANPADS and the American FIM-43 Redeye, which were created independently of each other, had a certain external similarity and close possibilities for hitting air targets.
The advantage of the rocket with TGSN is its full autonomy after launching on a previously captured target, which does not require participation in the arrow pointing process. The disadvantages are the low noise immunity of the first generation MANPADS and the restrictions imposed when firing in the direction of natural and artificial heat sources. In addition, due to the low sensitivity of the first GOS, induced to heat, as a rule, shooting was possible only in pursuit.
Unlike the American and Soviet developers, the Shorts company specialists used the usual radio command guidance method for their MANPADS, which had previously been used in the British anti-aircraft complexes "Sea Cat" and "Tygerket". The advantages of a short-range anti-aircraft missile with a radio command guidance system are considered to be the ability to attack an air target on a head-on course and insensitivity to heat traps used to jam interference with MANPADS missiles with IR GOS. It was also believed that the control of a rocket using radio commands would allow to fire at targets flying at extremely low altitude and even if necessary, to use MANPADS against ground targets.
The complex, called the Bloupipe (Eng. Blowpipe - solder tube), entered the tests in 1965 year. The 1966 was first demonstrated at the Farnborough Air Show, and in 1972, it was officially adopted in the UK. "Bloupipe" entered the air defense company of the British army, each company had two anti-aircraft platoon, three divisions with four MANPADS.
British MANPADS turned out much harder than its American and Soviet competitors. Thus, the Bloupipe weighed 21 kg in a combat position, the mass of the missile defense system was 11 kg. At the same time, the Soviet Strela-2 MANPADS weighed 14,5 kg with a mass of 9,15 kg missiles.
With much smaller mass and dimensions, the Soviet complex showed in real combat conditions a greater probability of hitting the target and was much easier to handle.
The greater weight of Blupipe MANPADS is due to the fact that, in addition to the radio command and missile defense system in its sealed transport and launch container, it includes guidance tools placed in a separate unit. The removable guidance unit includes a fivefold optical sight, a counting instrument, a command station and a battery. On the control panel there is a switch for changing frequencies, on which the guidance and guidance system to the line of sight works. The ability to change the frequency of radio guidance commands increases noise immunity and makes it possible to simultaneously fire one target at several complexes.
The transport and launch container is assembled of two cylindrical tubes of different diameters; its front part is much larger. TPK are stored in special shock-resistant sealed boxes, which, if necessary, can be dropped on a parachute.
After an anti-aircraft missile is fired, a new TPK with unused missile is attached to the guidance unit. The used container can be re-equipped with a new anti-aircraft missile in the factory.
The rocket, besides the contact one, is also equipped with a non-contact fuse. A non-contact fuse undermines the warhead in the event of a miss in flying a rocket in close proximity to the target. When firing at targets flying at extremely low altitude or at ground and surface targets, to prevent premature detonation of the warhead of the rocket, the proximity fuze is switched off beforehand. The pre-launch preparation process takes about 20 seconds from the moment the target is detected before the launch.
The effectiveness of the use of the British "Bloupipe" very strongly depended on the training and psychophysical state of the MANPADS operator. In order to create sustainable skills for operators, a special simulator has been created. In addition to working out the process of capturing and pointing missiles at the target, the simulator reproduced the effect of starting with a change in mass and center of gravity.
TTH PZRK "Bloupayp"
By order of the Thai Air Force to provide air defense of airfields, a paired modification of Bloupep MANPADS - LCNADS was developed. It can be placed on an off-road chassis or on a tripod.
At the beginning of the 80-ies for the self-defense of submarines from anti-submarine aircraft at low altitudes, the British company Vickers developed the SLAM anti-aircraft complex (eng. Submarine-Launched Air Missile System - an anti-aircraft submarine complex).
The complex consists of a stabilized multiply-charged launcher with six Blouipe missiles in sealed containers, a control and guidance system, a television camera, and a verification system. Target detection is carried out visually through the periscope of a submarine. The SLAM SLM launcher in azimuth is induced synchronously with the rotation of the periscope.
SLAM complex on the British submarine HMS Aeneas
The operator of the anti-aircraft complex in the case of detection of the target provides aiming and takes control. After the launch, the rocket is escorted through the television camera, the rocket in flight is operated by the operator with the aid of the pointing handle.
Of course, against airplanes such an anti-aircraft system, in which there was no radar, and the detection of the target occurred visually, through the periscope, was ineffective. But, according to the British, for diesel boats operating in coastal areas, the fight with which was placed on anti-submarine helicopters, such a complex could be in demand. In fact, a helicopter with a hydroacoustic station lowered into the water, conducting a low-speed search for a boat and limited in maneuver is a much more vulnerable target.
However, this complex was not adopted by the British Navy and was offered exclusively to foreign customers. Perhaps the fact is that by the time SLAM appeared in the British fleet there are almost no diesel boats left, and nuclear powered ships operating in the ocean are not so vulnerable to anti-submarine aircraft. The only SLAM customers were the Israelis, who equipped their submarines with this anti-aircraft complex.
Baptism of the MANPADS "Bloupeyp" received on the Falklands, and it was used by both warring parties. The effectiveness of combat launches, both among the British and Argentines was low. Initially, the British claimed nine shot down Argentine planes and helicopters. But after some time it was already about only one reliably destroyed Argentine attack aircraft.
In addition to covering the landing from the strikes of Argentine aviation on the islands, MANPADS were used to protect British landing and auxiliary ships. In total, around 80 Bloupep anti-aircraft missiles were launched during this conflict.
So the British artist depicted the moment of the destruction of the Argentine airplane using Blupipe MANPADS
It is worth noting that in the first wave of the British amphibious assault there were FIM-92A Stinger MANPADS from the USA (the stinger was the first sting) of the first serial modification. On this Stinger model, the rocket was completed with a simplified IR GOS with a low noise immunity. However, the advantages of the American MANPADS were much lower weight and dimensions, as well as the absence of the need to target the missile at a target throughout the entire flight segment, which was vital for British marines operating under enemy fire. In that war, the Stinger MANPADS, first used against real targets in combat, shot down the Pukara turboprop attack aircraft and the Puma helicopter. The successes of the Argentine MANPADS calculations were also small, the Harrier was able to hit the Blighter, the British pilot successfully catapulted and was rescued.
The next time, the Blupipe anti-aircraft missile systems against the Soviet aviation were used by the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. However, Afghan “freedom fighters” quickly became disillusioned with him. In addition to a large mass, the British complex was too difficult for them to learn and use. The victims of this anti-aircraft complex in Afghanistan were two helicopters. Against modern jet warplanes, the Bloupipe was completely ineffective. In practice, the maximum firing range - 3,5 km when firing at rapidly moving targets - due to the low speed of the rocket and decreasing in proportion to the accuracy range, it was impossible to implement. The actual firing range, as a rule, did not exceed 1,5 km. Attacks on the heading also proved ineffective. There was a case when the crew of the Mi-24 helicopter managed to destroy the MANPADS operator, carrying out the guidance, with a volley of NURS before the anti-aircraft missile hit the helicopter, after which the helicopter pilot abruptly turned off and avoided being hit.
The Canadian military launched a Blupipe MANPADS in 1991 during the Gulf War, but because of its long-term storage, the missiles showed low reliability. Last time, the Bloupep anti-aircraft systems were used by the Ecuadorian military in 1995 during the border conflict with Peru. This time, their targets were Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters.
The production of Blupipe MANPADS was conducted from 1975 to 1993. It was shipped to Guatemala, Canada, Qatar, Kuwait, Malawi, Malaysia, Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Portugal, Thailand, Chile and Ecuador.
By the beginning of the 80-s, the Bloupep complex was hopelessly outdated, the fighting in the Falkland Islands and Afghanistan only confirmed this. In 1979, the tests of the semi-automatic guidance system for the Bloupep complex were completed. Further development of the SACLOS guidance system (Semi-Automatic Command to Line of Sight) - a semi-automatic command line-of-sight system) allowed the creation of the Bloupe complex Mk.2, better known under the designation Javelin (Javelin - spear). Its mass production began in 1984 year, in the same year, the new MANPADS was adopted.
Compared with the Bloupipe, the Javelin missile has a more powerful warhead. Due to the use of a new fuel formulation, it was possible to increase the specific impulse. This, in turn, led to an increase in the range of destruction of air targets. The complex “Javelin”, if necessary, can also be used for ground targets. Undermining of the warhead occurs with the help of contact or proximity fuses.
TTX PZRK "Javelin"
In terms of its layout and appearance, the Javelin MANPADS is very similar to the Bloupipe, but the Javelin guidance system keeps the SAM on the line of sight during the entire flight. In other words, the operator of the Javelin complex does not need to control the rocket with the help of a joystick during the entire flight, but it is enough to follow the target in the crosshair of the telescopic sight.
With a significant external resemblance to the Javelin MANPADS, in addition to the new SAM, a different targeting unit is used. It is located on the right side of the safety mechanism. The guidance unit has a stabilized sight, which provides visual tracking of the target, and a television camera, with which the rocket is guided in semi-automatic mode at the target using the three-point method. Information obtained from a television camera, in digital form after processing by a microprocessor and transmitted on board the rocket via radio.
Automatic control of the rocket on the line of sight during the entire time of flight is carried out using a tracking television camera, which captures the radiation tracers of the tail of the rocket. On the camera screen displays marks from the rocket and the target, their location relative to each other is processed by the computing device, after which the guidance commands are broadcast aboard the rocket. In case of loss of control signals, the rocket self-destructs.
For Javelin MANPADS, a multiply-charged launcher - LML (English Lightweight Multiple Launcher - lightweight multiply-charged launcher) was created, which can be mounted on different chassis or mounted on the ground.
MANPADS "Javelin" in the number of 27 complexes were delivered in the second half of the 80's Afghan rebels. It turned out to be more efficient than its predecessor, Bloupe MANPADS. In Afghanistan, 21 missile launches managed to shoot down and damage 10 aircraft and helicopters. Heat traps proved to be completely ineffective against missiles with a radio command guidance system. The Bloupip was particularly dangerous for helicopters. The Soviet crews learned to correctly identify British MANPADS on the "behavior" of a rocket in the air. At the first stage, the main countermeasures were intensive maneuver, and the shelling of the place from which the launch was made. Later on the planes and helicopters in Afghanistan began to mount jammers that clogged the Javelin missile guidance channels.
1984 to 1993 produced more than 16 000 missiles MANPADS "Javelin". Deliveries, in addition to the armed forces of Great Britain, were carried out in Canada, Jordan, South Korea, Oman, Peru and Botswana.
Since the middle of 80-x, Shorts has been working on improving Javelin MANPADS. The Starbears complex (starburst) is originally designated as “Javelin S15”. Having a lot in common with the Javelin complex, it is equipped with a laser guidance system. To prevent the breakdown of the process of guidance and duplication, the laser equipment of the complex has two sources of laser radiation. The use of missile guidance by laser was due to the desire to increase the noise immunity of the complex. Thanks to a more powerful engine and improved aerodynamics of the rocket, the firing range has increased to 6000 m.
TTH PZRK "Starburs"
Several variants of the complex with multiply charged starters for installation on a tripod and various chassis have been developed. Mobile and ground multiply charged launchers, unlike MANPADS used individually from single launchers, provide greater fire performance and better conditions for targeting an anti-aircraft missile at the target. All of these factors ultimately affect the effectiveness of the shooting and the probability of hitting the target. This led to the fact that the complexes "Javelin" and "Starburs" ceased to be "portable" in the direct sense of the word, and in fact became "transportable." This difference became even more noticeable after part of the complexes with multiply charged launchers were equipped with thermal imagers, which make the anti-aircraft systems all-day.
Radamec Defense Systems and Shorts Missile Systems Ltd established a marine air defense system, called Starburst SR2000. It is designed to arm small displacement warships and is a six-shot PU on a stabilized platform with the Radamec 2400 optoelectronic surveillance system. This allows forming an integrated system with anti-aircraft missiles and detection equipment within the anti-aircraft complex. The Radamec 2400 is capable of detecting air targets at ranges of more than 12 km, which makes it possible to accompany aircraft and helicopters in advance of the line for launching anti-aircraft missiles. The Starburst SR2000 shipborne air defense system can also be used for anti-ship missiles, flying at extremely low altitude and surface targets.
The Bloupipe, Javelin and Starburs complexes were similar, retaining continuity in many details, techniques and methods of application. This greatly facilitated the development, production and development of personnel. However, to infinity to use technical solutions laid down in the beginning of the 60-s, even for conservative Englishmen was too much.
Understanding this, the specialists of the Shorts Missile Systems company, on which all British MANPADS were created, began work on a completely new anti-aircraft complex in the late 80's. In the second half of 1997, the complex received the name "Starstrik" (English Starstreak - star trail) was officially adopted in the UK. By that time, the multinational company Thales Air Defense, which absorbed Shorts Missile Systems, became the manufacturer of the Starstreak complex.
The new British complex used a laser guidance system already tested before in Starburs MANPADS. At the same time, the engineers of Thales Air Defense used a number of technical solutions in the new SAM, which had no analogues in world practice before. The warhead of the rocket, in which there are three arrow-shaped combat elements and their breeding system, is originally made. Each swept element (length 400 mm, diameter 22 mm) has its own electric battery, control circuit and laser beam guidance, which determines the location of the target by analyzing the laser modulation.
Zour complex "Starstrik"
Another feature of the Starstrike complex is that after the launch of the rocket, the starting engine from the transport and launch container, the main engine, or rather, the booster engine, has been running for a very short time, accelerating the warhead to speeds above 3,5M. After reaching the maximum possible speed, three arrow-shaped combat elements with a mass of 900 g each are automatically shot back. After separation from the upper stage, the booms are lined up with a triangle around the laser beam. The distance in flight between the "arrows" is approximately 1,5 m. Each combat element is aimed at a target individually by laser beams, formed by an aiming unit, one of which is projected in the vertical, and the other in the horizontal planes. This principle of guidance is known as the “laser path”.
Arrow warhead missile system Starstrik
The head of the "boom" is made of heavy and durable tungsten alloy, in the middle part of the submunition body there is an explosive charge weighing about 400 g, undermined by a contact fuse with some delay after the combat element hits the target. The destructive effect of a swept element hitting the target, approximately corresponds to the 40 mm projectile of the Bofors anti-aircraft gun and, when firing at ground targets, can penetrate the frontal armor of the Soviet BMP-1. According to the manufacturer, the combat elements throughout the entire flight segment can hit aerial targets maneuvering with overloads up to 9g. The British Starstress complex was criticized due to the absence of a proximity fuze on the combat units, however, according to the developers, due to the use of three arrow-shaped combat elements, the probability of hitting the target is at least 0,9 with at least one submunition.
TTX ZUR "Starstrik"
Although the Starstreak British anti-aircraft complex is positioned as a MANPADS, I was able to find only one photo of this complex in the launch version from the shoulder, which, apparently, was taken during the tests.
Obviously, the fact is that to catch the target at sight, to carry out the launch and during the entire flight of combat units to accompany it, while holding the launcher on the weight - a very difficult task. Therefore, the mass version of the complex was an easy multiply-charged LML launcher, consisting of three vertically positioned TLCs with an aiming unit mounted on a rotator.
Of course, such an anti-aircraft installation is hardly portable. The weight of the tripod is 16 kg, the infrared sight - 6 kg, the tracking system - 9 kg, the aiming block - 19,5 kg. That is, in total, excluding three anti-aircraft missiles, - more than 50 kg.
It is clear that with such weight and dimensions too large for MANPADS, the LML launcher is more suitable for mounting on various off-road chassis.
With the use of missiles "Starstrik" created a number of self-propelled anti-aircraft complexes. The most widespread and famous was the Starstric SP air defense missile system adopted in the UK. This complex is equipped with the ADAD passive infrared system capable of detecting air targets at a distance of up to 15 km.
Starstric SP SPR
In addition to the land variant, the marine ZRK of the near zone “Sea Strick” is also known. It is designed to arm boats, minesweepers and amphibious assault ships of small displacement. The laser-guided Starstrik anti-aircraft missiles in combination with the automatic Bushmaster 30-mm cannon can be used in the Sea Hawk Sigma combined rocket and artillery installation.
PU ZRK "Sea Strick"
The first contract for the supply of Starstric complexes outside the UK was concluded in 2003 with South Africa, then in 2011 followed by a contract with Indonesia, in 2012 with Thailand, and in 2015 with Malaysia. As of the end of 2014, about 7000 anti-aircraft missiles were produced. Currently, an improved version of the Starstreak II has been developed, with an increased range of 7000 m and an altitude reach of 5000 m.
A common feature of all British MANPADS is that, after the launch of the rocket, the operator must be guided before meeting her with a view, which imposes certain restrictions and increases the vulnerability of the calculation. The presence of equipment on the complex, with the help of which guidance commands are transmitted, complicates operation and increases its cost. Compared with MANPADS with TGS, the British complexes are better suited for hitting targets flying at extremely low altitude, and they are insensitive to thermal interference. At the same time, the weight and size characteristics of British MANPADS make their use by units operating on foot very difficult. During the fighting in Afghanistan, it turned out that jamming the radio frequency guidance channels of the Javelin complexes is not a difficult task. After that, the British MANPADS made the transition to laser guidance systems. With high noise immunity of laser systems, they are highly susceptible to such meteorological factors as precipitation and fog. In the near future, we can expect the appearance of sensors on combat helicopters that will warn the crew about laser irradiation and the threat of missiles with a similar guidance system, which, of course, will reduce the effectiveness of British complexes.