The Ministry of Defence is to buy 200 extra missiles as part of a multi-million-pound deal announced today by the Prime Minister.

Starstreak, built by Thales at their plant in Belfast, forms part of the UK’s ground-based air defence capability, which was used to protect London during the Olympic Games in 2012.

The contract with Thales to increase MOD’s stockpile of the missiles will sustain 475 jobs at the company’s facilities in Northern Ireland.

The high velocity missiles, which can travel over a kilometre in less than a second, provide the Army with an air defence capability that is able to counter the threat from fighter aircraft, helicopters and unmanned air systems.

The order of additional Starstreak missiles, which are due to be delivered by June 2014, will allow both the regular and reserve forces to be equipped with the capability.

Starstreak missile deployment system
Soldiers man a Starstreak missile deployment system during an exercise (libary image) [Picture: Crown copyright]

The Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said:

We saw during the Olympics last year how important our air defence capability is. This contract for 200 extra Starstreak missiles will not only provide our Armed Forces with a highly capable weapon, but also secures hundreds of highly skilled defence jobs in Northern Ireland and should provide confidence to the export markets of the Starstreak system.

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