The shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 and the deaths of 298 people cast gloom over my plans for the final day of the Show.
That plan, on a day when no business is done and the working part of the Air Show is effectively over, was to wander around, take pictures on my iphone of interesting things and write short captions for the aerospace audience to give a flavor of what’s here. An easy, fun day.
But today, besides aircraft, I had missiles on my mind. And Farnborough, in addition to being a showcase for both military and commercial aircraft, is also a giant arms bazaar.
There are plenty of missile systems on show, from such manufacturers as Raytheon, Thales and MBDA.
Here’s the Thales Starstreak, a portable missile that can be launched from a tripod or from a light vehicle, with three lethal darts at the business end that separate when it nears the target.
The British Army deployed the Starstreak on the roof of the Olympic Stadium in London in 2012 to protect the Games.
“Laser-guided and immune to countermeasures,” Thales tells me on the sign.
It’s a ground-to-air missile for taking down ground attack planes or helicopters, not for high-altitude targets.Then there is Raytheon’s Patriot, the top surface-to-air missile system in the Western world.
According to the plaque beside the Patriot display at Farnborough, it’s a “long-range air and missile defense system, fielded to defeat advanced threats, including aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.”