The 9K333 Verba (Willow”) is a Russian fourth-generation man-portable infrared homing surface-to-air missile (SAM) MANPADS. “9K333” is the Russian GRAU designation of the system. Its NATO reporting name is SA-25. The Verba MANPADS is designed to detect and destroy unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles and other low-flying air targets. It is capable of operating independently or as part of a battery and can engage targets in the presence of thermal noise. The new Verba is intended to replace its predecessor 9K38 Igla-S MANPADS, which are currently in service with the Russian Army.
The Verba Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) has been designed to provide information on the air environment, fix the target and command a strike against the target in several seconds excluding the human factor and automatic communication between the command post and Verba missile operator. The missile utilizes a solid-propellant rocket allowing to hit targets at a maximum range of 6,000 meters and flying at an altitude of up to 4,500 meters and an speed of up to 500 meters per second (1,800 kilometers per hour). The state-of-the-art seeker combines an ultraviolet (UV), middle and near infrared seekers allowing to shoot down targets flying as low as 10 meters.
The system is in serial production for the Russian Armed Forces, with several ground forces and airborne formations receiving Verbas since 2014. It first appeared with the Ivanovo VDV division after passing Army testing in the summer of 2011 and being confirmed for production in late 2011. As of 2015, KBM has equipped the Russian army with three brigade and two divisional sets. Four VDV units received Verba in 2014-15. MANPADS “Verba” passed state tests in 2011. Officially, it entered service in 2015. KBM signed a long term contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense to supply Verba and carries out its production. As of April 2017, 10 sets have been delivered.
Russian armed forces deployed 9K333 Verba surface-to-air missile MANPADS to their command post outside east Ghouta de-escalation zone in Syria, to shoot down drones. The Verba’s primary new feature is its multispectral optical seeker, using three sensors – ultraviolet, near infrared, and mid-infrared – as opposed to the Igla-S’ two. Cross-checking sensors against one another better discriminates between relevant targets and decoys, and decreases the chance of disruption from countermeasures, including lasers that attempt to blind missiles. “9K333” is the Russian GRAU designation of the system, its US DoD designation is SA-25.