Stinger Man-Portable Air-Defense System (MANPADS)

Stinger Man-Portable Air-Defense System (MANPADS)

In April 2017, a pair of Stinger missiles intercepted two unmanned airborne systems—an MQM-170C Outlaw and a smaller unspecified model—using proximity fuzes during a U.S. Army test at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Proximity fuzes allow missiles to destroy targets with direct hits or by detonating near them. In 2019, the U.S. Army began retrofitting its Stinger missiles with proximity fuzes, which allow missiles to destroy unmanned airborne systems with direct hits or by detonating near them. The modified missile offers ground troops better defense against small, agile threats.

The Stinger-Reprogrammable Microprocessor, or RMP, missile has a greater than 90 percent success rate in reliability and training tests. Its supersonic speed, agility and a highly accurate guidance and control system give the weapon an operational edge against cruise missiles and all classes of aircraft. The system is also used on Apache helicopters for air-to-air engagements.The Stinger missile is a lightweight, self-contained air defense system that can be rapidly deployed by ground troops. Combat proven in four major conflicts, the weapon has more than 270 fixed- and rotary-wing intercepts to its credit. It’s deployed in 19 nations and with all four U.S. military services.

The Stinger missile is an integral component of a multilayered air defense system. (Photo: U.S. Army)

The RMP is a dual-channel, passive infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) tracking seeker and proportional navigational guidance missile system. The spectral discrimination of the seeker detector material, when supercooled by the argon gas in the battery coolant unit, enables Stinger to acquire, track, and engage targets in any aspect (incoming, outgoing, or crossing). Stinger is a true “fire and forget” missile, requiring no inputs from the gunner once the weapon is fired. This allows the gunner to take cover, move to an alternate position, or engage additional targets. Stinger also possesses an integral identification, friend or foe (IFF) subsystem to assist the gunner in identifying friendly aircraft.

The FIM-92 Stinger is a man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) that operates as an infrared homing surface-to-air missile (SAM). Light to carry and easy to operate, the FIM-92 Stinger is a passive surface-to-air missile that can be shoulder-fired by a single operator. The FIM-92B missile can also be fired from the M-1097 Avenger and the M6 Linebacker. The missile is also capable of being deployed from a Humvee Stinger rack, and can be used by airborne troops. A helicopter launched version exists called Air-to-Air Stinger (ATAS). It is principally manufactured by Raytheon Missile Systems and is produced under license by EADS in Germany and by ROKETSAN in Turkey, with 70,000 missiles produced.

The Stinger missile’s seeker and guidance system enables the weapon to acquire, track and engage a target with one shot. (Photo: U.S. Army)