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Firestreak fired from a Javelin F.(A.W.) Mk.9.


The Firestreak missile (scale is approximate)

The Firestreak is a British Infrared homing air-to-air missile. it was introduced in Update 1.85 "Supersonic".

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

General info

Missile characteristics
Mass 136 kg
Guidance IR
Aspect Rear-aspect
Lock range (rear-aspect) 4 km
Launch range 7 km
Maximum speed 3.4 M
Maximum overload 15 G
Missile guidance time 13 secs
Explosive mass 11.2 kg TNTeq

The Firestreak is a large missile, with an 8.75 kg warhead (11.2 kg TNTe). The Firestreak is a very early air-to-air missile design; it was Britain's first operational heat seeking missile. It has slightly better manoeuvrability than other early heat seeking missiles, and a much larger warhead, and is otherwise comparable in terms of speed and range.

Effective damage

The Firestreak has a 8.75 kg warhead, making it capable of outright destroying any target it gets a direct hit on. The warhead has a larger proximity fuse setting than other heat-seeking missiles (10 m as opposed to the more standard 5 m), this helps slightly offset the missiles poor manoeuvrability as any aircraft caught in the proximity fuse range is likely to suffer critical damage due to the large explosive mass.

Comparison with analogues

The Firestreak has a warhead of 11.2 kg in explosive mass, just less than thrice than that of the AIM-9B, which only contains 4.5 kg. It is also slightly more manoeuvrable than the AIM-9B with a 15 G max overload compared to the AIM-9B's 10 G. Unlike other contemporary IR missiles, it also features the ability to slave to radar, which it shares with its cousin the Red Top.

Usage in battles

This missile is not agile. Do not use them on targets that are manoeuvrable as they will easily evade it. Instead, use them on bombers or aircraft which have no energy left to manoeuvre as it will be more difficult for them to evade the missile.

As this missile seeks infrared radiation (IR), be aware of locking onto other sources of heat which can throw the missile off course such as other teammates, flares and of course, the sun.

The missile's IR seeker head can be slaved to radar. What this means is that once a pilot establishes a radar lock and activate the missile's seeker, the seeker head will search for heat signatures on the location of your radar lock, rather than directly ahead of it. This is very useful because the missiles have poor G-limits for launching, meaning a pilot needs to maintain an almost straight course to launch the Firestreak. Slaving to radar allows a pilot to automatically "lead" the missile seeker within its range of motion, similar to what can be done with the AIM-9G and other later missiles after acquiring an IR lock, and can be used to launch missiles from oblique angles.

Like other air-to-air missiles, the Firestreak performs best at altitude where there is less drag from the reduced air concentration, allowing it to maintain the speed it gets from its initial burn time.

Pros and cons


  • Has the second largest warhead of any air to air missile
  • The IR seeker has a fairly wide field of view when slaved to the Javelin, Lightning, or Sea Vixen's radar
  • Can be slaved to radar
  • Highly receptive proximity fuse
  • 15G overload


  • Slightly lower velocity than other missiles
  • Relatively short range compared to counterparts


De Havilland's Firestreak was the first British infrared guided missile to enter service, arming the Gloster Javelin, de Havilland Sea Vixen, and, later, the English Electric Lightning.

Development was the result of a somewhat confused post-war process that started in 1945 with a very ambitious design known as "Red Hawk". When this proved too complicated, a simpler system known as "Blue Sky" was proposed in 1949 and eventually emerged in 1956 as Fireflash. Shortly after Fireflash development started, advances in infrared guidance suggested a new look at the original Red Hawk concept, and eventually a specification emerged as "Blue Jay".

Blue Jay began development in November 1951. Many of the technologies were entirely new, and development took considerable time. One significant issue was the size and power requirements of the tube-based electronics, which took up much of the forward quarter of the missile body. This left no room for the warhead, which had to be moved to the rear of the missile, thereby taking up the area that would normally be used for the control fin actuators. These were instead placed in the electronics section, operating the rear-mounted fins using long pushrods. To further complicate it, the power for the actuators were air bottles in the tail. The layout was quite complicated.

The first launches took place in 1955, and it entered service with the RAF in 1957 and the Royal Navy in 1958. Designed specifically for use against bombers and other large targets, it was not particularly manoeuvrable and its overall performance was less than that of the AIM-9 Sidewinder that had entered US service the previous year. It made up for this somewhat with the use of a very large warhead, well over double the weight of Sidewinder's.

Several minor modifications to the basic design were suggested but not implemented. These eventually led to a much more capable upgrade, the Hawker Siddeley Red Top.


Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.

See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the article about the variant of the weapon;
  • references to approximate analogues by other nations and research trees.

External links

AAM  AIM-54A Phoenix · AIM-54C Phoenix · ATAS (AIM-92)
Sparrow  AIM-7C · AIM-7D · AIM-7E · AIM-7E-2 · AIM-7F · AIM-7M
Sidewinder  AIM-9B · AIM-9C · AIM-9D · AIM-9E · AIM-9G · AIM-9H · AIM-9J · AIM-9L · AIM-9M · AIM-9P
AGM  AGM-22 · APKWS II (M151) · APKWS II (M282) · BGM-71D TOW-2
Bullpup  AGM-12B Bullpup · AGM-12C Bullpup
Hellfire  AGM-114B Hellfire · AGM-114K Hellfire II
Maverick  AGM-65A · AGM-65B · AGM-65D
TOW  BGM-71 · BGM-71A · BGM-71B · BGM-71C
SAM  FIM-92 Stinger · MIM-72 · MIM146
Naval SAM  RIM-24A
AAM  AIM-9B FGW.2 Sidewinder · Flz Lwf 63/80
AGM  9M14M Malyutka · Flz Lwf LB 82 · HOT-1 · HOT-2 TOW · HOT-3 · PARS 3 LR
AShM  AS.34 Kormoran
SAM  Roland
AAM  9M39 Igla · R-3R · R-3S · R-13M1 · R-23R · R-23T · R-24R · R-24T · R-27ER(1) · R-27ET(1) · R-27R(1) · R-27T(1) · R-60 · R-60M · R-60MK · R-73(E)
AGM  9K127 Vikhr · 9M17M Falanga · 9M120 Ataka · 9M120-1 Ataka
  Kh-23M · Kh-25 · Kh-25ML · Kh-29L · Kh-29T · Kh-29TE · Kh-29TD · Kh-66 · S-25L
ATGM  3M7 · 9M14 · 9M113 Konkurs · 9M114 Shturm · 9M123 Khrizantema · 9M133 · 9M133FM3 · 9M133M-2
SAM  95Ya6 · 9M311 · 9M311-1M · 9M331 · 9M37M
Naval SAM  Volna-M
AAM  Fireflash · Firestreak · Red Top · Skyflash · Skyflash SuperTEMP · SRAAM
AGM  AS.12 · ZT-6 Mokopa
AShM  AJ.168
ATGM  BAe Swingfire · MILAN · MILAN 2 · ZT3
SAM  Starstreak
AGM  Ki-148 I-Go Model 1B
ATGM  Type 64 MAT · Type 79 Jyu-MAT
SAM  Type 81 SAM-1C · Type 91
AAM  PL-2 · PL-5B · PL-5C · PL-7 · PL-8 · TY-90
AGM  AKD-9 · AKD-10 · HJ-8A · HJ-8C · HJ-8E · HJ-8H
ATGM  302 · HJ-73 · HJ-73E · HJ-9 · QN201DD · QN502CDD
AAM  Aspide-1A
Naval AShM  Nettuno
SAM  Mistral SATCP
AAM  AA-20 Nord · Matra R511 · Matra R530 · Matra R530E · Matra Super 530D · Matra Super 530F · Matra R550 Magic 1 · Matra R550 Magic 2 · Mistral
AGM  9M14-2 Malyutka-2 · AS-20 Nord · AS-30 Nord · AS-30L Nord · HOT-1 · HOT-2 TOW · HOT-3 · Spike ER
SAM  Roland · VT1
AAM  RB24 · RB24J · RB71 · RB 74 · RB 74(M)
AGM  Rb05A · RB 53 Bantam · RB 55B Heli TOW · RB 55C Heli TOW · RB 75
ATGM  Rbs 55 · Rbs 56
SAM  Rbs 70
AAM  Shafrir · Shafrir 2 · Python 3
ATGM  Spike-MR
  AAM = Air-to-Air Missile   AGM = Air-to-Ground Missile   AShM = Anti-Ship Missile   ATGM = Anti-Tank Guided Missile (Ground mounts)   SAM = Surface-to-Air Missile