The £93m Future Air Defence Availability Project (F-ADAPT) programme, will be carried out under a contract awarded to Thales UK.

The project will enhance the High Velocity and Lightweight Multi-role Missile systems which are designed to intercept a wide range of air and surface threats such as enemy drones, helicopters and armoured vehicles. The upgrades include thermal imaging which ensures the High Velocity Missile system can be used 24 hours a day and ‘Friend or Foe’ identification, which will maximise intelligence on potential threats and targets.

Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said:

“Defence investment benefits every corner of our United Kingdom and Northern Ireland is no exception. This £93 million deal will secure over 100 local jobs and demonstrates the ingenuity and skill of Northern Irish industry.

In these uncertain times, it is crucial we protect ourselves from the rapidly evolving spectrum of global threats. These cutting-edge missile systems will fortify our military advantage over adversaries and help protect UK Armed Forces across the world and into the next decade.”

DE&S Director Weapons, Richard Smart said:

“The F-ADAPT is crucial in safeguarding our Very Short-Range Air Defence capability and the team at DE&S has worked collaboratively with industry to deliver the enhancements needed to ensure this project continues to support our troops for years to come.”

27 COMMENTS

    • I think its going through final trial’s/certification now so should be in service before 2020, I haven’t seen any guaranteed dates though.
      I did see the Italy has now postponed funding for CAMM-ER for 12 months in its recent budget. That will be interesting as Spain selected it for its F110 Frigates, maybe they will just go for the standard CAMM instead as I don’t see Italy finding additional money for their military anytime soon now their government is looking to increase welfare. It could actually present issues for a long term partnership with the UK if they become unreliable funding partners for Tempest.
      Back to Starstreak and LMM, its good to see additional investment which will hopefully see some export wins, particularly for LMM as it seems to be incredibly versatile for its price point, no doubt other European countries will just build their own duplicates of the missile instead while we purchase military vehicles from them in droves.

  1. I don’t see the RM specifically mentioned in the article. One minute though they’re facing mega cuts the next shiny new kit is announced! Arse from your elbow, in latin format of course should be the motto of the MOD.

    • The cuts are to personal and number of units being replaced. They seem to believe the shiny new equipment can replace the old equipment at a ratio of 2 to 1.
      The new equipment is absolutely necessary though as so much of what is still in service should have been replaced 10 to 15 years ago, its shocking they let it go this far.

  2. As a bit of an aside, I spent quite a bit of time yesterday going through defence in numbers and the NATO financing document (amongst others).

    NATO believes the UK spends £44bn on defence (exc. pensions) whilst our very own defence secretary states we are spending £34.6bn. He also states this meets the 2.1% but that uses a totally different number. Additionally the 2015 Defence in numbers states we spent $61.8bn on defence (validated by IISS), for 2018 this number has been dropped, but the previous year 2017 it was down to $52.5bn, this is critically important when most of our equipment plan is purchased in USD. In real terms that is a 15% reduction in the defence budget, never mind bringing CASD into the core defence budget as well. Obviously statistics can be referenced in a number of ways, but if we are going to use NATO funding parameters to justify our position, then the defence secretary really should own that budget fully. £44bn would solve the majority of issues within our armed forces (equipment, industrial strategy, R&D and welfare) as well as give our country a real fiscal impetus.

    Only the UK would even consider reducing one of its elite forces… any other country in the world would love to have the RM and its capabilities.

    • The way defense budgets seem to get adjusted year to year really cracks me up. Its not just the UK, but how is any military planner supposed to plan for the next 10 years when they have no idea what their budget will be year to year. Pretty much all military procurement takes 10 years from planning to deployment and every time the procurement budget is cut it increases the cost dramatically through long lead times or a cancelled project later turning into a UOR when its actually required and then we have to turn to a foreign provider for the capability hollowing out our own industry. The entire FRES and JLTV program is pretty much produced from foreign suppliers with little to no export opportunities for UK industry.

  3. If this is for the RM that equates to 93 million for 1 single Air Defence Troop, part of 30 Commando, the C3 Regiment for the force.

    So a handful of launchers?

  4. I’m a bit confused (well, a lot confused actually) about the relationship, or perhaps lack of it, between Starstreak and LMM/Martlet. My understanding is that Martlet is the U.K. name for LMM so effectively LMM equals Martlet but how Starstreak fits into the family tree, if at all, I’m unclear on. I could of course also be wrong on the LMM=Martlet bit.

    I’d be most grateful if someone could un-confuse me.

    • LMM is Martlet, a Air-to-Surface or Suface-to-Surface missile
      Starstreak is a Surface-to-Air Missile, aka High Velocity Missile or HVM) that uses either a Self Propelled launcher (SP HVM, on a Stormer chassis) or a Lightweight Multiple Launcher – aka LML.
      SO – they are different weapons, but very similar acronyms – LMM vs LML

      Hoipe that helps

    • Thanks all. I think I’m clear now. It was the common ancestry between LMM and Starstreak that had me a bit confused.

      I see from that ThinkDefence article that Andy linked to that…

      “In the ground launch role, LMM can make use of any of the launching systems used for the Starstreak High-Velocity Missile.”

      I’m wondering if that means that the reverse is true, i.e. that Starstreak could potentially be launched from the LMM launchers on a 30mm Sigma mount. I suppose the designator is a whole other issue and is I believe quite sophisticated to allow the operator to stay locked onto a potentially fast-moving and/or high flying aircraft the whole time. Presumable the designator also needs to be close to the firing point so that the missile fires into the beam but ideally in a Sigma-mount application also able to track independently so that the cannon could engage another target. Maybe it’s all too complicated/impractical but if it was possible and not ridiculously expensive it could be an interesting option to give vessels with 30mm on them (which include Rivers, Tides, Bays, Albions, Waves, Hunts, Sandowns and possibly others – Forts & Argus are 20mm BTW). I believe the French use some MANPAD-derived anti-air stuff on some of their ships to give basic defence over and above cannon.

      Is this a completely stupid idea?

  5. £100m doesn’t seem enough for a new platform, so I assume it is just a capability improvement on the existing platforms. When I saw the title I was hoping for something that will fill the gap created by rapier retiring and land ceptor being much larger and so not easily air liftable by a300 or Chinook.

    • No. The Starstreak Regiments ( or Regiment) provide direct support to armoured brigades with HVM Stormer enabling them to keep up with the Tanks. LML for 16 AA Bde and 3 Cdo.

      We once had 3 Rapier Regiments, one of them self propelled, 2 Starstreak Regiments. Plus another 3 Starstreak Regiments in the TA with just LML.

      Cut to ribbons like so much else.

      Rapier is static and more of an area asset. Albiet a short ranged one.

      Starstreak as I recall relies on its 3? tungsten darts and mach 4 velocity to destroy targets just by impact

  6. … United Kingdom and Northern Ireland

    Oh. dear. “They’ll be dancing in the streets of Raith tonight” comes to mind.

    • All just smoke and mirrors. They announced £1b extra for the amred forces in the budget, stated to be focused on combating the increasing sub surface threat and then go on and talk about Dreadnaught, an asset that was already budgeted (badly) for. The story should have been along the lines of 1b more needed to offset exchange rate issues caused by brexit uncertainty and our government’s lack of a real plan for post march.

      • Whats with the constant negativity? The second a Brexit deal is announced with the EU the pound will bounce back to where it was before the referendum result. Hammond knows it too which is why he is spending the money.

        • We are at a stage where a no deal is looking likely and so a bounce back is less likely also. However no one knows if the pound will bounce back or not and no one knows what the medium term impact will be, hence why the mod equipment contingency budget is growing, causing what looks like a massive hole in the budget but in reality it’s just a worst case scenario that will cause the 20b gap

          Hammond isn’t spending the money, his using a lot of smoke and mirrors to make it look like he is spending the money without actually doing anything.

          Blind optimism is not what is needed right now, rational planning is.

        • I think it’s unwise to try and predict the markets, they often fall on good news and rise on bad news because the good or bad news had already been priced in so the actual announcement results in a correction. I should know, I live entirely off investments so am very exposed to market fluctuations and have seen them at very close quarters for 17 years now.

          Perhaps the red book shows more of what that £1bn is earmarked for. Much of it might not even be earmarked for anything in particular, it might be general defence funding to strengthen the hedging provisions e.g. buying more USD call options so not actually buying any more equipment, not even a single bullet(*), but rather increasing the predictability and thus securing the funding to complete projects already underway e.g. Dreadnought. The devil is in the detail which I would definitely be interested in seeing.

          (*) And of course it’s not just equipment that needs more, human issues to do with pay & conditions and the recruitment/retention crisis needs extra funding too.

          • … and I should acknowledge that even if that is what all of the £1bn is for that is still welcome. Having confidence that projects underway won’t be axed or scaled back due to funding shortfalls arising from currency issues is an extremely good thing. Maybe now next year’s Defence Modernisation Review can actually look forward rather than having to mostly look backwards at what already announced programs need to be cut or scaled back.

            The DMR has been seriously delayed though. At one time it was going to be announced at the end of last year wasn’t it, and now they’re talking about next year. That’s something like an 18 month delay. I hope it’s good after keeping us in suspense for so long.

  7. As I understand it, the Starstreak does not use laser beam riding for tracking a target. It instead uses two lasers to “draw” a grid in the sky over the target. The returning reflections of the target are used by both the missile seekers and the tracking unit to form an image of the target. This then not only makes it easier for the unit/missiles to track the target but more importantly makes it near on impossible to spoof with countermeasures. I believe the Starstreak is probably the best in the World for close range pop up targets such as attack helicopters, I’m not sure how it would counter a large SSM such as a cruise missile etc.
    The idea of combining the Starstreak with a gun has been done before. The Tracer armoured vehicle which was supposed to replace Scimitar CVR(T) back in the day had a combined 30mm and a quad pack Starstreak launcher, why it was never developed is any bodies guess.
    However, this combination of gun and missiles is being used by Russia with their Pantsir system. This uses a combination of twin 30mm gattling guns and 8 57E6 SAMs. The system uses a combination of radar command guidance and optical tracking. So unlike Starstreak has the possibility of being spoofed by countermeasures.

    Compared to the Pantsir system the 30mm and Starstreak combination would be ideal for small ships such as the Rivers as its mostly all self contained and compared to the Russian system doesn’t add much weight, plus it would be cheaper. The main disadvantage would be operating the system in heavy rain or fog as this would probably reduce the lasers range etc.

    • Thanks. Maybe I’m reading it wrong but from the description of the guidance in Wikipedia I read it as still looking backwards into the beam (it explicitly mentions a rear-looking sensor) rather than looking forward for reflections. Again, if I’m reading it right, I think the grid plays its part such that, rather than having to ride a single beam to the target, the laser is used to paint a grid behind the missile with the centre of the grid aligned with the target. The beam is at a certain modulation in the centre of the grid and varies as it moves off centre so that, by analysing the modulation of the beam received by the rearward looking sensor, the missile can know whether it is flying in the dead centre or needs to go up/down/left/right (and by how much presumably) to get into the centre sweet spot. All very clever stuff.

      If I’m right and it’ s not working off reflections from a painted target that’s a pretty big benefit in a maritime environment since issues of laser power/attenuation are lessened since distances of travel between emitter and receiver are less and there is no reflection loss due to partial absorption by the target to deal with. The grid thing would also presumably mean that the laser guidance could be mounted further off axis since the missile only needs to fly into the edge of the grid at which point it can use the modulation cues to fly itself into the centre. Then again, at Mach 4 and quoted range of 7km it’s only going to tie up the laser for a few seconds, about 5 at maximum published range ignoring the initial acceleration curve and course corrections, even if it couldn’t track fully independently of the gun.

      This would seem to be an extremely interesting and possibly quite cost-effective upgrade to the defensive capabilities of many of our vessels, not just Rivers but also most or all of the RFA fleet as well.

      • As the guidance process is secret I can only presume how it actually works. However I’m pretty certain that the missile is not a true fire and forget and requires continual guidance from the base unit. You can tell this by looking at the three darts that are released when the 2nd stage motor burns out. At the rear of the darts there is an IR sensor, which I presume is part of the data link to control the dart as there’s no mention of radio guidance. The tracking I believe is all done from the base unit, which then gives corrections to the dart. The previous Javelin missile used semi automatic command line of sight (SACLOS) guidance with radio command correction, which I think was the basis for Starsteak. The grid overlay must use a form of SACLOS but is clearly more accurate. I agree that the darts when released must also be tracked within the grid and corrections given to ensure the target converges with a calculated impact point.
        The Stormer fitted with Starstreak also makes use of the air defence alerting device which is a passive IR seeker, this uses similar tech to the Typhoon’s Pirate sensor. The amount of information on the system is quite limited. For instance there is no mention of how many targets the Stormer fitted system can manage at once.
        A few years back Shorts (now Thales) produced SeaStreak. This was a fully stabilised platform with both self contained Optical sensors and radar. On one version 48 Starstreak missiles were installed and was envisioned to work like Phalanx or RAM as part of an inner layered defence system. This was a bolt on system and required no deck intrusion so would have been good for RFA, Mine sweepers etc. I’m sure if the shit hit the fan, such a system could be re-invigorated and installed.

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