Posts tagged ‘MANPADS’

FRIDAY FOTO (May 6, 2022)


(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tyler Thompson)

Marine Corps Lance Corporal Dylan Pennington, right, explains the functions of the FIM-92 Stinger missile system to Norwegian Army Sergeant Silje Skarsbakk during a bilateral training event in Setermoen, Norway on April 25, 2022.

The FIM-92 Stinger missile is a shoulder-fired MANPAD (man-portable air-defense system) that specializes in taking out helicopters. Stingers have been around since the 1980s. They were originally developed by General Dynamics and are now made by Raytheon Missile Systems. The Stinger can also target low-flying airplanes and drones.

Pennington is assigned to the the Aviation Combat Element of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). MEUs are expeditionary quick reaction forces, deployed and ready for  immediate response to a crisis.

The 22nd MEU, embarked aboard the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group,  participated in a bilateral training event with the Norway’s Armed Forces in April.

The United States has sent more than 1,400 Stingers to Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24. . The Ukrainian military says it has shot down nearly 160 Russian aircraft, including 90 helicopters in that time. Unfortunately, the Defense Department, which is developing an updated anti-aircraft missile, hasn’t purchased a Stinger in about 18 years, say Raytheon officials. Some of components are no longer commercially available, and the company will have to redesign some of the missile’s electronics, Breaking Defense reported April 26.

May 5, 2022 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 18, 2019)

Sending a “Stinging” Message.

Stinger Missile Exercise

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Rachel K. Young)

Here we have “before and after” photos of a Stinger anti-aircraft missile launch. In the first, we see Marine Corps Provate First Class Scout Mohrman testing  Stinger during a training exercise at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California on January 14, 2019.

In the photo below, we see the same weapon, same day, same place — same photographer — but a different Marine, Private First Class Joshua English. as the Stinger leaves the launch tube.

Stinger Missile Exercise

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Rachel K. Young)

The Stinger, a Cold War weapon that is making a come-back with the U.S. military, is part of a group of anti-aircraft weapons known as Man Portable Air Defense Systems, or  MANPADS.  After the Soviet Union invadede Afghanistan, the United States supplied anti-Soviet Afghan insurgents with Stingers.  Between 1986 and 1989, Afghan forces used the missiles to down an estimated 269 aircraft and helicopters. (See video clip  from the 2007 motion picture Charlie Wilson’s War) Many Stingers, however, remained unaccounted for after the conflict despite U.S. efforts to have unused missiles returned to U.S. control. Some of the missiles made it into the international black market and the hands of terrorists.

After the 9/11 attacks, the proliferation of Stingers and other shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapons was by the U.S. State Department as a “serious potential threat to global civilian aviation,” 4GWAR reported numerous times. Those concerns sparked both efforts to collect and destroy unsecured stockpiles of portable anti-aircraft missiles as well as industry efforts to equip commercial aircraft with counter MANPADS technologies.

With the rise of unmanned aircraft technology, security concerns have shifted to inadvertent or malicious drone interference with civil aviation.

January 18, 2019 at 1:36 pm Leave a comment

COUNTER TERRORISM: More Libyan Anti-Aircraft Missiles Go Missing

An Update on Missing MANPADS Threat

A Cold War-era SA-7 heat seeking missile. (Defense Dept. photo via Wikipedia)

An SA-7 heat seeking missile in action during the Cold War. (Defense Department photo via Wikipedia)

Remember this picture? We have an update on the March 4 post it illustrated: the disappearance of small anti-aircraft missiles from the armories of Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi, and the continued risk of them making their way into terrorists’ hands.

The missiles, known as Man-Portable Air Defense Systems or MANPADS, are shoulder-fired, heat-seeking weapons that government officials around the world fear could be used against  commercial airliners, the New York Times reports. Since the 1970s, MANPADS attacks have been launched against more than 40 civilian aircraft in more than 18 countries (but not Libya). Twenty-five planes have been shot down, killing more than 800 people, according to the U.S. State Department.

Back in February, as anti-Qaddafi rebels seized the regime’s weapons depots in the western part of the country, concerns were raised that the surface-to-air missiles might make their way onto the black market and wind up with terrorists. There have been no reports of Libyan rebels selling seized weapons on the black market.

Qaddafi’s forces are believed to have amassed as many as 20,000 of the mostly Soviet-made SA-7 missiles. It is not known how many were seized by rebels, most of whom have little or no military training.

Now the Times’ C.J. Chivers reports coming across boxes and boxes of empty SA-7 containers  near an arms depot recently seized by anti-Qaddafi rebels in western Libya.

Since the uprising began, officials in neighboring Chad and Algeria have said MAPADS taken from Libya have been taken across their borders, winding up in the hands of a North African offshoot of al Qaeda: al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

The U.S. has contracted with two international organizations, Britain’s Mines Advisory Group and the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action to help secure the  MANPADS stockpiles and prevent them from leaving the country, Chivers reports.

Photo courtesy of Federation of American Scientists

Meanwhile, the U.S. government today (July 15) recognized the rebels National Transitional Council as the legitimate government in Libya — until a fully representational interim government can be established.


July 15, 2011 at 1:30 pm Leave a comment


June 2023


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