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Starstreak Firing Camp Established In South Africa

Thales : 29 November, 2010  (Application Story)
Air Defence Artillery Formation conduct firings of Thales Starstreak at new facility set up near to Cape Town
The South African Army has conducted a Starstreak firing camp at the Overberg Test Range near Cape Town to allow their trained operators to develop experience in firing live missiles. Starstreak is a key element of their frontline ground-based air defence – an on-going programme first initiated in 2003.

The missiles were fired against the indigenously manufactured Locats (low-cost aerial target system) aerial targets, which - with a maximum speed of 310 km/hr, a wingspan of 3.2m and length of 2.9m - are a fraction of the size of conventional air threats.

The Air Defence Artillery Formation (ADAF) took the opportunity to conduct day and night firings, introducing their new Starstreak thermal imager to provide a full 24-hour air defence capability. The success of the camp, underlined by an unprecedented number of target kills, is even more impressive given that the Locats targets destroyed were totally un-enhanced, proving Starstreak’s capability against unmanned air vehicle targets.

Speaking from the range Lt Col Jacques Baird, Chief of Staff of the ADAF, said: “I am delighted with the performance of the Starstreak system and of course our operators. Indeed, at one stage I thought that we would run out of targets before the end of our camp.”

Brig Gen Jabu Mbuli GOC Air Defence Formation, said: “If this camp has proved anything it is that Starstreak can defeat a wide variety of air targets, both the traditional and the emerging small low-infrared signature threats. We spent quite some time evalu¬ating various missile systems as our ground-based air-defence (GBAD) solution and what we have witnessed at this exercise clearly demonstrates that we made the right choice.”

Starstreak represents the cornerstone of the success of phase one of the GBAD project. “Our relationship with Thales is first class,” said Hanlo Pretorius GBADS Programme Manager of Armscor. “From the moment the contract was signed we have formed a partnership to deliver the best product and service to the user and I have no doubt this teamwork will continue to bring benefits.”

David Beatty, Managing Director of Thales UK’s Belfast facility, where Starstreak is designed and manufactured, says: “It is extremely pleasing to be able to support a successful firing camp like this, especially against challenging targets like these. Once again Starstreak has demonstrated its unique capability and why customers worldwide are showing a great deal of interest in the system. I look forward to a long and successful relationship with the Armed Forces in South Africa for many years to come.”
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