Aerial Warfare

Taiwan Armed Forces to Buy More FIM-92 Stinger Man-portable Air-defense Systems

Taiwan Marines using dual-mounted stinger missile launcher
Taiwan Marines using dual-mounted stinger missile launcher

The Taiwanese Armed Forces (officially the Republic of China Armed Forces) plans to purchase additional Stinger missiles from the U.S. in order to meet the air defense needs. Taiwan News reported that the decision comes after President Tsai Ing-wen’s announcement of conscription reform on Dec. 27. Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, males born after 2005 must serve in the military for one year. In order to comply with the resumption of one-year conscription, the military has obtained various weapons such as pistols, mortars, and machine guns, and continued to take stock of other required arms, including Stinger missiles. Additionally, with the lengthening of military service, live-fire target practice is expected to increase significantly.

According to the Ministry of National Defense’s budget for next year, the Taiwanese Navy intends to buy 500 Stinger missiles, of which 250 will be given to the Army, and 250 of which will be handed over to the Marines or other naval forces, the report said. All deliveries are expected by 2025. Last week, 71 Chinese aircraft including fighter jets and drones entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone in 24 hours, the largest reported incursion to date. The Wall Street Journal reported about a month ago that Taiwan’s government is facing delays in arms shipments from the U.S. of up to $19 billion. Among the delayed weapons are Javelin anti-tank weapons, Stinger surface-to-air missiles, and M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers.

Taiwan Marines using dual-mounted stinger missile launcher
Taiwan Marines using dual-mounted stinger missile launcher. (Photo by Republic of China Navy)

The FIM-92 Stinger is an American man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) that operates as an infrared homing surface-to-air missile (SAM). The missile is 5.0 ft (1.52 m) long and 2.8 in (70 mm) in diameter with 3.9 in (100 mm) fins. The missile itself weighs 22 lb (10.1 kg), while the missile with its launch tube and integral sight, fitted with a gripstock and Identification friend or foe (IFF) antenna, weighs approximately 34 lb (15.2 kg). It has a targeting range of up to 4,800 m and can engage low altitude enemy threats at up to 3,800 m. The Stinger is launched by a small ejection motor that pushes it a safe distance from the operator before engaging the main two-stage solid-fuel sustainer, which accelerates it to a maximum speed of Mach 2.54 (750 m/s). The warhead contains 1.02 kg (2.25 lb) of HTA-3 explosive with an impact fuze and a self-destruct timer that functions 17 seconds after launch.

In 2019, the U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Taiwanese government for the Stinger missiles and related equipment and support for an estimated cost of $223.56 million. The Taiwanese government has requested to buy two hundred fifty (250) Block I -92F MANPAD Stinger missiles and four (4) Block I -92F MANPAD Stinger Fly-to-Buy missiles. Also included is one (1) Captive Flight Trainer (CFT), twenty-three (23) Field Handling Trainers (FHTs), one hundred eight (108) Gripstock Control Groups, one hundred eight (108) Medium Thermal Weapon Sights (MTWS), seven (7) Tracking Head Trainers (THTs), two (2) Sierra Coolant Recharging Units (CRUs), one (1) Missile Go/No Go Test Set, one hundred eight (108) Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), spare and repair parts.

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