In the Donbass region, a Russian Mi-28NM Night Hunter helicopter is said to have been shot down by a STARStreak missile.
The STARStreak missile is the latest British aid to Ukraine, and it has many advantages over traditional man-portable air defence missiles (MANPADS) such as the Stinger or Igla. After the UK announced that it had handed over the STARStreak ultra-fast missile to the Ukrainian Army, Ukrainian soldiers completed training and the weapon was quickly ready for combat. The STARStreak missile has been on combat duty for more than a week, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, which is a valuable addition after Russian aircraft learned how to deal with Stinger by increasing operating altitude and adding bait trap heat.
On April 1, a Russian Mi-28NM Night Hunter attack helicopter was shot down over the Donbass region, marking a significant development. The video shows that a high-speed missile, much faster than the Igla or Stinger, hit the tail of the helicopter and “separated” it from the body, with no evidence of a rocket engine smoke trail. As is customary, fire or a warhead explode. Because it has many “unmistakable” features, many military experts immediately confirmed that this is the “work” of the STARStreak super-fast air defence missile. The STARStreak’s warhead is made up of three separate arrows, similar to a tank’s sub-caliber bullet, rather than a conventional explosive fragmentation warhead. They are made of extremely hard tungsten, allowing them to pierce even armoured vehicles. This is why, unlike other MANPADS types, when an anti-aircraft missile hit the tail of the Russian Mi-28NM Night Hunter attack helicopter, the warhead did not explode.
Not only that, but the arrows mentioned above travel at speeds of up to Mach 3.5 (over 3,500 km/h), which is significantly faster than the Mach 2 speed of the Stinger and Igla missiles, which is also reasonable when considering the time the missile hit the helicopter’s tail. The Times, citing a source from the British Ministry of Defense, confirmed the above suspicions on April 2, stating that the STARStreak missile did indeed shoot down the Mi-28NM Night Hunter.As a result, this is the first time a mobile air defence missile has achieved a feat that is considered unique in the world today, while also confirming the formidable characteristics of British-made weapons. This air defence complex is unique in that it navigates using laser beams rather than infrared detectors, and the gunner must still guide the entire flight process rather than “shooting and forgetting.”
Although complicated, STARStreak’s upper guidance method has the effect of neutralising any jamming tricks used by Russia’s fighter planes and helicopters by using decoys or weapons that “dazzle” the missile detectors. The exact number of STARStreak ultra-fast air defence missiles supplied to the Ukrainian Army by the UK is unknown at this time, but it is believed to be in the hundreds.
Russia, for its part, has warned that any act of supplying weapons to Ukraine will be considered hostile, and has promised to destroy all military aid convoys that cross the Ukrainian border.