10 August 2015

US Army seeks Stinger-based defence against cruise missiles

Gareth Jennings
05 August 2015

A Lithuanian dual-mount Stinger launcher team seen during in-country training. The US Army is looking to use the Stinger as the basis for a new cruise missile defence system. 

The US Army issued a request for information (RfI) for a Raytheon FIM-92 Stinger-based air defence system to counter cruise missiles on 4 August.

The RfI, which was posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, calls for sources with the capability to provide engineering services in support of the Stinger missile in relation to the development of the Cruise Missile Defense Systems (CMDS) for both United States and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers.

As highlighted in the RfI, the Stinger is a short-ranged fire-and-forget shoulder-launched man-portable air defence system (MANPADS) designed to provide point-defence for ground forces against attack or observation by low-flying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), helicopters, and fixed-wing threats out to 4.5 km.

The missile currently utilises a high-explosive, hit-to-kill warhead with a contact fuze, and can be fired from a range of platforms, including ground vehicles, UAVs, and helicopters. While no configuration has been disclosed, in the CMDS role it will be either a static or mobile ground-based system.

Having first entered service in 1981, the Stinger is now in its Advanced FIM-92E Stinger Block 1 configuration. A FIM-92E Block 2 configuration with an improved infrared/ultraviolet seeker that could defeat low-signature cruise missiles was shelved not long after engineering and manufacturing development was begun in 2000.

The RfI provides no details on the configuration of the proposed CMDS, or if it will be a mobile vehicle-based or a static solution. No details of timelines, numbers, or contract values were released either.

More than 44,000 Stinger missiles have been delivered to US forces and 17 export customers, with Raytheon claiming a more than 90% success rate in over 1,500 tactical firings, resulting in more than 270 kills against helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Besides the US Army, customers include Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Qatar, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey. On 4 July, the Latvian government confirmed to IHS Jane's that it too is to buy the Stinger system, with a procurement programme commencing in 2016.

The identity of the potential FMS customers for the Stinger-based CMDS has not been revealed.

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