Thales came to DSA with a strong operator endorsement for its Next-generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW).
The UK government has gifted over 3,600 of them to the Ukrainian armed forces to help with the resistance against the Russian invasion. Their soldiers have destroyed multiple Russian tanks and AFVs with them.
In addition, Thales is the maker of the Starstreak air defence missile, which is also about to be deployed in Ukraine. The British Army has mounted an accelerated training programme in eastern Europe for the Ukrainian Army, which will receive a large quantity of the missile.
Both weapons are manufactured in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The shoulder-fired NLAW was designed by Saab, and licensed to Thales for production. It weighs 27.5 pounds (12.5 kilograms) and has a range of some 2,600 feet (800 metres). About 14,000 have been made for the British Army.
The Starstreak is the latest in a long line of short-range air defence (SHORAD) missiles from Belfast. Unlike most SHORADs, which employ infrared guidance that can be countered or decoyed, it is a twin laser beam-rider that closes to the target at up to Mach 3. It is aimed by an optical sight. The ‘kill’ is made by three tungsten darts or ‘hittiles’ that separate from the body of the weapon as it closes on the target. Range is over three miles and maximum height over 3,000t (914m).
The Malaysian Army was an early customer for the Starstreak, which it named locally as the Rapid Ranger. At DSA, Thales’ Malaysian partner Westar showed a 4×4 vehicle with the launcher mounted on top. Malaysia also bought the portable-stand Lightweight Multiple Launcher (LML). The missile can also be shoulder-fired. Only last week, the Malaysian army conducted another successful firing trial, shooting down target drones on its range in Johor.
by Chris Pocock