The FIM-92 Stinger is a personal portable infrared homing surface-to-air missile (SAM) developed in the United States and entered into service in 1981. Used by the militaries of the U.S. and by 29 other countries, the basic Stinger missile has to-date been responsible for 270 confirmed aircraft kills. It is manufactured by Raytheon Missile Systems and under license by EADS in Germany, with 70,000 missiles produced. It is classified as a Man-Portable Air-Defense System (MANPADS).
Light to carry and easy to operate, the FIM-92 Stinger is a passive surface-to-air missile, shoulder-fired by a single operator, although officially it requires two. The FIM-92B can attack aircraft at a range of up to 15,700 feet (4,800 m) and at altitudes between 600 and 12,500 feet (180 and 3,800 m). The missile can also be fired from the M-1097 Avenger and M6 Linebacker. The missile is also capable of being deployed from HMMWV Stinger rack, and can be used by paratroopers. A helicopter launched version exists called Air-to-Air Stinger (ATAS).
The missile is 1.52 m (60") long and 70 mm (2-3/4") in diameter with 10 cm fins. The missile itself weighs 10.1 kg (22 lbs.), while the missile with launcher weighs approximately 15.2 kg (33.5 pounds). The Stinger is launched by a small ejection motor that pushes it a safe distance from the operator before engaging the main two-stage solid-fuel sustainer, which accelerates it to a maximum speed of Mach 2.2 (750 m/s). The warhead is a 3 kg penetrating hit-to-kill warhead type with an impact fuze and a self-destruct timer.
To fire the missile, a BCU (Battery Coolant Unit) is inserted into the handguard. This shoots a stream of argon gas into the system, as well as a chemical energy charge that enables the acquisition indicators and missile to get power. The batteries are somewhat sensitive to abuse, with a limited amount of gas. Over time, and without proper maintenance, they can become unserviceable. The IFF system receives power from a rechargeable battery. Guidance to the target is initially through proportional navigation, then switches to another mode that directs the missile towards the target airframe instead of its exhaust plume.
There are three main variants in use: the Stinger basic, STINGER-Passive Optical Seeker Technique (POST), and STINGER-Reprogrammable Microprocessor (RMP).
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