FIM-92 "Stinger" (eng. FIM-92 Stinger - Sting) is a US-made portable air defense system (MANPADS). Its main purpose is to defeat low-flying aerial objects: helicopters, airplanes and UAVs.
The development of the Stinger MANPADS was led by General Dynamics. It was created as a replacement for FIM-43 Redeye MANPADS. The first batch of 260 units. anti-aircraft missile systems were put into trial operation in the middle of the year 1979. After that, the manufacturer ordered another batch of 2250 units. for the american army.
"Stingers" adopted in the 1981 year, they became the most common in the world of MANPADS, which are equipped with the army of more than twenty states.
In total, three modifications of the Stinger were created: the base (“Stinger”), “Stinger” -RMP (Reprogrammable Microprocessor) and “Stinger” -POST (Passive Optical Seeking Technology). They have the same composition of assets, the height of the target and the firing range. The difference between them in homing heads (GOS), which are used on anti-aircraft missiles FIM-92 (modifications A, B, C). Currently, Raytheon makes modifications: FIM-92D, FIM-92E Block I and II. These upgraded versions have better GOS sensitivity as well as immunity to interference.
The GOS POST, which is used for the FIM-92B SAM, operates in two wavelength ranges: ultraviolet (CC) and infrared (IR). If, in the FIM-92A rocket, the IR GOS receives data on the target position relative to its optical axis from a signal that modulates a rotating raster, then the GOS POST uses a rasterless target coordinator. UV and IR radiation detectors work in a circuit with two microprocessors. They can carry out rosette scanning, which provides a high possibility of choosing a target in conditions of strong background noise, and is also protected from countermeasures operating in the IR range.
Production of FIM-92B SAM with HSH POST launched in 1983 year. However, in 1985, General Dynamics began the development of the FIM-92C missile defense, therefore the output rates declined slightly. The development of the new rocket was completed in 1987 year. It uses HSH POST-RMP, whose processor can be reprogrammed, which ensures the adaptation of the guidance system to the target and interfering conditions with the help of an appropriate program. The body of the trigger mechanism MANPADS "Stinger" -RMP contains removable memory blocks with typical programs. The latest modifications of the MANPADS provided for equipping the FIM-92C rocket with a lithium battery, an annular laser gyro, and an upgraded roll-angle sensor.
The following main elements of Stinger MANPADS can be distinguished:
The transport and launch container (TPK) with an anti-aircraft missile system, as well as an optical sight, which allows to conduct visual detection and tracking of the target and determine the approximate distance to it. Trigger and power and cooling unit with a capacity of liquid argon and electric batteries. Also installed equipment "friend-alien" AN / PPX-1 with electronic carrier, which is attached to the belt arrow.
The FIM-92E Block I rockets are equipped with dual-band noise-proof rosette homing heads (GOS), which operate in the UV and IR ranges. In addition, high-explosive fragmentation warheads weighing three kilograms. Their flight range is 8 kilometers, and the speed M = 2.2. In the FIM-92E Block II rocket, a full-range thermal imaging homing unit is installed, in the focal plane of which the optical system of the infrared detectors is located.
In the production of missiles used aerodynamic scheme "duck". The nose part contains four aerodynamic surfaces: two play the role of rudders, and the other two remain immobile relative to the missile body. When maneuvering with one pair of rudders, the rocket rotates around the longitudinal axis, while the control signals that they receive are matched with the movement of the rocket around this axis. The initial rotation of the rocket provide inclined nozzle starter relative to the body. Rotation in flight is supported by the disclosure of the planes of the tail stabilizer at the exit from the TLC, which are also located at an angle to the body. The use of a pair of rudders for control has significantly reduced the weight and cost of flight control devices.
The rocket is propelled by the Atlantic Research Mk27 solid-fuel dual-engine main engine, which provides acceleration to speed M = 2.2 and supports it during the entire flight to the target. This engine begins to work after the starting accelerator has separated, and the rocket has moved a safe distance from the shooter - approximately 8 meters.
The weight of combat equipment ZUR is three kilograms - this is a high-explosive fragmentation part, a percussion fuse, as well as a safety-actuating mechanism that provides for the removal of the safety stages and gives the command to self-destruct the missile if it does not hit the target.
For the placement of missiles used hermetic cylindrical TPK of TPK, which is filled with an inert gas. The container has two lids, which are destroyed during launch. The material of the front passes infrared and UV radiation, which makes it possible to capture the target without the need to break the seal. The container is sufficiently reliable and sealed to provide storage of missiles without the need for maintenance for ten years.
Special locks are used to attach the launching mechanism that prepares the rocket for launch and launches it. In preparation for launching, a cooling and power supply unit with an electric battery is installed in the trigger housing, which is connected to the onboard rocket system using a plug connector. The tank with liquid argon is connected to the main line of the cooling system by means of a choke. In the lower part of the trigger mechanism there is a plug connector, which is used to connect the electronic sensor of the "friend or foe" system. On the handle there is a trigger that has one neutral and two working positions. When the hook is moved to the first working position, the cooling and power supply units are activated. Electricity and liquid argon begin to flow on the rocket, which cool down the detectors of the GOS, spin up the gyroscope and perform other operations to prepare the air defense missile system for launch. When the hook is moved to the second operating position, activation of the on-board electric battery begins, which provides power to the rocket’s electronic equipment for 19 seconds. The next step is to start the operation of the igniter of the rocket's starting engine.
In the course of the battle, the target information is transmitted by an external detection and target indication system or a calculation number that monitors the airspace. After the target is detected, the operator-the shooter puts MANPADS on his shoulder, starting guidance on the selected target. After the missile’s target is captured, a beep sounds, and the telescopic sight begins to vibrate with the device adjacent to the operator’s cheek. After that, by pressing the button, the gyroscope is turned on. In addition, before starting the arrow, you must enter the required lead angles.
When the trigger guard is pressed, the on-board battery is activated, which returns to normal mode after the triggering of the cartridge with compressed gas, rejecting the tear-off plug, thereby disconnecting the power transmitted by the cooling and power supply unit. Then the squib, starting the starting engine, is switched on.
MANPADS "Stinger has the following tactical and technical characteristics.
The affected area is 500-4750 meters in range, and 3500 meters in height. The kit in the fighting position weighs 15.7 kilogram, and the launch weight of the rocket - 10.1 kilogram. The length of the rocket is 1500 mm, the diameter of its body is 70 mm and the span of the stabilizers 91 mm. The rocket flies at a speed of 640 m / s.
As a rule, calculations of MANPADS during combat operations perform tasks independently or as part of a unit. The fire of calculation is governed by its commander. Autonomous selection of targets is possible, as well as using commands that the commander transmits. Fire calculation produces a visual detection of the air target, determines whether it belongs to the enemy. After that, if the target reaches the calculated range and the destruction command is given, the calculation launches the rocket.
In the operating instructions for the conduct of battle there are firing techniques for calculating MANPADS. For example, for the destruction of single piston airplanes and helicopters, a method called “launch-observation-launch” is used, for a single jet aircraft, “two launch-observation-launch”. In this case, both the shooter and the commander of the crew simultaneously shoot at the target. With a large number of air targets, the fire crew chooses the most dangerous targets, with the shooter and the commander firing at different targets with the help of the “launch-new target-launch” method. The following distribution of the functions of the members of the calculation takes place - the commander fires a target driven or flying to his left, and the shooter attacks the leading or right outer object. Fire lead to the complete consumption of ammunition.
Coordination of fire between different calculations is carried out with the use of pre-agreed actions to select the established sectors of fire and the choice of target.
It is worth noting that fire at night unmasks firing positions, so in these conditions it is recommended to fire in motion or during short stops, changing position after each launch.
The first baptism of the Stinger MANPADS took place during the British-Argentine conflict in 1982, caused by the Falkland Islands.
With the help of MANPADS, cover was provided for the British landing force, which landed on the coast, from the attacks of the Argentine army attack aircraft. According to the British military, they shot down one plane, and several others threw off the attack. At the same time, an interesting thing happened when the rocket, which was fired at the Pukar turboprop attack aircraft, struck in its place one of the shells fired by the attack aircraft.
Light Argentine turboprop attack aircraft "Pukara"
But this MANPADS got real “glory” after it began to be used by Afghan mujahideen to attack government and Soviet Aviation.
From the beginning of the 80-ies, the Mujahideen used the American Red I systems, the Soviet Strela-2, as well as the British Bloupep missiles.
It is also worth noting that, until the middle of the 80, with the aid of MANPADS, no more than 10% of all aircraft belonging to government troops and the “limited contingent” were shot down. The most effective missile at the time - Egypt-supplied Strela-2. She surpassed all competitors in speed, maneuverability and power of the warhead. For example, the American Red I missile had unreliable contact and contactless fuses, otherwise the missile broke on the skin and flew off from a helicopter or a plane.
In any case, successful launches occurred quite regularly. However, the probability of hitting was almost 30% lower than that of the Soviet Arrow.
The range of both missiles did not exceed three kilometers for firing at jet planes, two for the Mi-24 and Mi-8. And on the piston Mi-4, they did not fall at all due to the weak IR signature. In theory, the British Bloupep MANPADS had much greater potential.
It was an all-view system that could fire at a combat aircraft in a head-on course at a distance of up to six kilometers, and at a helicopter - up to five kilometers. It easily bypassed heat traps, and the weight of the missile warhead was three kilograms, which ensured acceptable power. But there was one thing, but ... Guidance through manual radio commands, when the joystick moved with a thumb was used to control the rocket, with a lack of experience at the shooter meant an inevitable miss. In addition, the whole complex weighed more than twenty kilograms, which also prevented its wide distribution.
The situation changed dramatically when the latest American Stinger missiles hit the territory of Afghanistan.
A small 70-mm rocket was all apt, and the guidance was completely passive and autonomous. The maximum speed reached values in 2M. In just one week of use, four Su-25s were shot down with their help. The machine could not be saved by a thermal trap, and the three-kilogram warhead was very effective against the Su-25 engines - they burned cables to control the stabilizers.
During the first two weeks of fighting using Stinger MANPADS in 1987, three Su-25 were destroyed. Two pilots died. At the end of 1987, the losses were eight aircraft.
When firing at the Su-25, the "bias" method proved itself well, but it was ineffective against the Mi-24. One day, two Stingers hit the Soviet helicopter at once, and on the same engine, but the damaged car managed to return to the base. For protection of helicopters, shielded exhaust devices were used, which reduced the infrared radiation contrast by a factor of about two. Also installed a new generator of pulsed infrared signals called L-166B-11E. He took missiles to the side, and also provoked a false takeover of the GOS target of the MANPADS.
But the Stingers also had weaknesses, which at first were attributed to advantages. The launcher had a radio range finder that was detected by the Su-25 pilots, which made it possible to use traps preventively, increasing their effectiveness.
Dushmans could use the “all-view” complex only in the winter period, since the heated front edges of the attack aircraft had not enough contrast to launch a rocket into the hemisphere from the front.
After the use of the Stinger MANPADS began, it was necessary to make changes to the tactics of using combat aircraft, as well as to improve its security and jamming. It was decided to increase the speed and height during the fire on ground targets, as well as to create special units and pairs for cover, which began shelling, in which MANPADS were found. Very often, the Mujahideen did not dare to use MANPADS, knowing about the inevitable retribution from these aircraft.
It should be noted that the Il-28, the hopelessly outdated Afghan Air Force bombers, became the most “unbreakable” aircraft. This was largely due to the firing point installed at the stern of twin 23-mm guns, which could suppress the firing positions of MANPADS calculations.
The CIA and the Pentagon armed the Mujahideen with Stinger complexes, pursuing a number of objectives. One of them is the testing of a new MANPADS in real combat. Americans attributed them to the Soviet supply weapons to Vietnam, where Soviet missiles shot down hundreds of American helicopters and airplanes. However, the USSR helped the legitimate authorities of a sovereign country, while the US sent weapons for anti-government armed mojaheds - or “international terrorists, as the Americans themselves now classify.
Official Russian media support the view that subsequently Afghan MANPADS were used by Chechen rebels to fire on Russian aviation during the “counterterrorist operation”. However, this could not be true for some reason.
First, the disposable batteries are stored for two years, after which they need to be changed, and the rocket itself can be stored in a sealed package for ten years, after which it needs maintenance. Afghan Mujahideen could not replace the batteries themselves and provide qualified service.
Most of the Stingers outbid Iran at the beginning of the 90s, which was able to bring some of them back into service. According to the Iranian authorities, at the moment, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has about fifty Stinger complexes.
At the beginning of the 90-ies, units of the Soviet military were withdrawn from the territory of Chechnya, and after them many warehouses with weapons remained. Therefore, there was no special need for the Stingers.
During the Second Chechen Company, militants used various types of MANPADS, which came to them from various sources. For the most part these were the Igla and Strela complexes. Sometimes there were also Stingers who came to Chechnya from Georgia.
After operations of international forces began on the territory of Afghanistan, there was not a single case of using Stinger MANPADS.
At the end of the 80, the Stingers were used by soldiers of the French Foreign Legion. With their help, they fired on Libyan war machines. But there are no reliable details in the "open sources".
Currently, Stinger MANPADS has become one of the most effective and widespread on the planet. His missiles are used in various anti-aircraft complexes for firing near fire - Aspic, Avenger and others. In addition, they are used in combat helicopters as a weapon of self-defense against aerial targets.