Starstreak now part of Army inventory


SA Army Chief, Lieutenant General Vusi Masondo, yesterday officially took the Starstreak ground-based air defence missile system into the landward forces inventory.

The handover took place at 10 Anti-Aircraft Regiment headquarters at Diskobolos, Kimberley as is part of the Army’s drive to rejuvenate its hardware, alluded to by Masondo last month when he met the media.

The system, according to an Army statement, comes in two configurations: a multiple launcher unit and a shoulder-launched unit. This is a very short range air defence (VSHORAD) system that will be utilised by the Air Defence Artillery Formation as a fire unit to defend critical installations.

The system came to South Africa early in 2004. It then underwent extensive modification and enhancement at Denel Land Systems to adapt it to African conditions and the specification requirements of the Air Defence Artillery Formation to the point where it is now ready to be taken into service with a six kilometre range.

The testing phase saw both the multiple launcher and shoulder-launched unit trialled at AFB Zwartkop and Denel’s Overberg Test Range as well as the Air Defence Artillery range at Riemvasmaak in Northern Cape.

No indication of the number of units the Army will take into service has been made available. The official word is that the handover of the “state-of-the-art Starstreak missile system is one of the military’s projects to gradually do away with ageing equipment and ensure the men and women in uniform are adequately armed to defence the territorial integrity of the Republic of South Africa”.