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To Aid Ukraine, US Restores Previously ‘Non-Operational’ FIM-92 Stinger Missiles

The Stinger MANPADS system gained widespread recognition when the U.S. supplied it to Afghan Mujahideen fighters to counter helicopters and combat aircraft used by the Soviet Union during their invasion of Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — The U.S. Army has undertaken the refurbishment, upgrade, and extension of the operational life of approximately 1,900 guided missiles for the Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) “FIM-92 Stinger” previously deemed “no longer usable.”

This action became necessary as the U.S. military faced a shortage of these systems, now supplied to the Ukrainian forces to counter threats posed by Russian aircraft, helicopters, and military drones.

“The refurbished Stinger missiles will be reintegrated into the inventory of the U.S. Army and can be utilized for training or combat purposes.

“Through this refurbishment program, the U.S. Army has successfully saved $50,000 per Stinger missile. Presently, the cost per Stinger missile utilized by the ‘Stinger’ is between $120,000 and $150,000,” as stated the U.S. Army in a recent Facebook post.

The increase in the cost of the missiles is attributed to the use of cutting-edge technology, more expensive components, and the decrease in the production of the shoulder-launched air defense system.

Stinger
Ukraine soldiers with Stinger MANPADS supplied by the US.

 

Efforts to refurbish and modernize the Stinger missiles began in 2017 as part of the Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) but intensified after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The Stinger guided missiles were developed by the renowned U.S. defense firm, RTX (formerly known as Raytheon).

The FIM-92 Stinger system is a short-range MANPADS designed as an air defense system by the U.S. military and its allies.

 It entered U.S. military service in 1978 after a decade of development to replace the FIM-43 Redeye MANPADS system.

The Stinger MANPADS system gained widespread recognition when the U.S. supplied it to Afghan Mujahideen fighters to counter helicopters and combat aircraft used by the Soviet Union during their invasion of Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989.

Stinger

Due to the current popularity of the Stinger system among the Ukrainian forces, RTX reportedly had to call back retired engineers to resume the production of Stinger missile systems that had long been discontinued.

The U.S. defense company had to utilize blueprints from the era of President Jimmy Carter’s administration in 1977 to reinitiate the development of the MANPADS system.

“Stinger missiles have not been produced for 20 years, but within 48 hours of the conflict in Ukraine, the Stinger missile has become a ‘star,’ and suddenly everyone in Ukraine wants to have it,” said Wes Kremer, president of one of RTX’s divisions last year.

“We had to call back workers who are now in their 70s to teach new employees how to build Stinger guided missiles. We had to reuse old equipment from warehouses infested with spiders,” he added.

As of now, the U.S. administration has sent over 2,000 Stinger missile systems to Ukraine to shoot down Russian fighter jets, helicopters, and drones.

Stinger

All these shoulder-launched air defense systems were sourced from the U.S. military stocks.

President Joe Biden has declared his intention to send more Stingers to Ukraine, prompting Raytheon to resurrect production that had been dormant for two decades. — DSA

To contact email: lulwabyadah@gmail.com 

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