Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have recently secured contracts from the Pentagon for the development of a successor to the Stinger Man-Portable Air Defence System (MANPADS). The contracts, totaling over USD 700 million, represent a crucial step forward in modernizing and enhancing the capabilities of this vital anti-aircraft missile system. Raytheon’s contract, valued at a maximum of USD 418 million, and Lockheed Martin’s contract, worth nearly USD 312 million, underscore the importance of upgrading the Stinger MANPADS for contemporary warfare needs. Development work under these contracts is set to continue until March 12 and June 12, 2028, respectively, with an initial allocation of USD 26.1 million from the fiscal year 2023 budget for preliminary work.
The Stinger MANPADS, which has been in service since 1981, has proven its effectiveness in countering airborne threats for the United States and 29 other countries. However, with its reprogrammable microprocessor becoming obsolete in 2023 and declining stocks due to obsolescence, the U.S. Army recognized the need for a successor system. The U.S. Army initiated the process by issuing a request for information in 2020, followed by another in 2022, collectively considering the potential delivery of 10,000 missiles for new-generation MANPADS and M-SHORAD air-defence systems. This initiative not only aims to enhance the capabilities of the existing systems but also explores the possibility of a portable, shoulder-launched variant of the new missile.
Initially, three proposals were submitted in the second half of 2022 by Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon for the new-generation portable air defence system programme. However, in the first quarter of this year, the U.S. Army selected Lockheed Martin and Raytheon to advance their proposals to the next stage, entrusting them with the program’s implementation. After the development phase is completed, one of these contractors will be chosen to commence mass production of the new air defence system. The new-generation MANPADS system is expected to be compatible with the Stinger Vehicle Universal Launcher used on the IM-SHORAD platform. It will be designed to effectively engage fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, as well as Group 2 and 3 Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).
Moreover, it’s worth noting that, according to Reuters, the U.S. government recently signed a contract for 1,468 Stingers worth a total of $687 million, which might be intended to replace stock sent to Ukraine, further emphasizing the critical role of these advanced missile systems. As the U.S. Army continues to invest in the development and enhancement of air defence capabilities, these contracts mark a significant stride towards ensuring the safety and security of the United States and its allies in an ever-evolving threat landscape. The successor to the Stinger MANPADS promises to be a formidable addition to the nation’s defense arsenal, capable of meeting the challenges of modern warfare head-on.