The UK MoD has extended the lifetime of its stalwart Starstreak high-velocity missile (HVM) system for another 13 years through a £200m contract awarded to Thales UK.

The Starstreak HVM, which has been in service for 12 years, is a close air defence system capable of operating at more than three times the speed of sound.

The HVM uses an advanced laser guidance system and can be fired from the shoulder, from a lightweight multiple launcher or from the Stormer armoured vehicle.

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies said that the HVM was a crucial weapon system for Britain’s armed forces.

“Through this £200m contract we are sustaining technologies in the UK Industry that are important both for our future defence needs and for sustaining up to 100 vital jobs over the next decade,” Davies said.

Director general weapons, defence equipment and support, Rear Admiral Amjad Hussain said that the contract would provide the ability to transition from peacetime to planned or unplanned operations.

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“The air defence availability project (ADAPT) is fully consistent with the wider MoD initiative for the Complex Weapons sector and we are pleased to be entering into a long term arrangement with one of our team complex weapons players,” Hussain said.

Steve Hill, vice president and managing director of Thales UK air systems business said that the ADAPT contract was key to Thales.

“This contract is key to sustaining our current levels of employment and will provide us with an opportunity to move into the area of through-life capability management – an area which is becoming increasingly important for defence contracting,” Hill said.

The ADAPT contract will ensure the delivery of a guaranteed level of Starstreak HVM system availability and support of all HVM equipment until 31 December 2020.

By Daniel Garrun.