The stinger is back.
The Stinger has not been used much in recent years in Iraq and Afghanistan, largely because it is less necessary in combat environments where the US already has air supremacy. However, should the Army face a near-peer competitor with air power able to rival the US, the Stinger could likely emerge as a weapon of choice against helicopters and airplanes. Furthermore, given that the weapon can now destroy small drones, it is also conceivable that the Stinger could increasingly be fired in counterinsurgency or hybrid-warfare scenarios as well.
The Army’s well-known Stinger missile can now destroy small, moving drones using a newer proximity fuze to detonate near a target, service developers said.
Firing from a vehicle-mounted Avenger System, a Stinger missile destroyed a mini-drone more than one kilometer away using a proximity fuse – technology used to find and hit moving targets that are smaller than what the weapon has traditionally been used for.
The live-fire test, which marked the first-ever firing of a Stinger with the proximity fuze, took place this past April at Eglin AFB, Florida
The Stinger missile, made famous by its successful attacks against Soviet helicopters in Afghanistan in the 1980s, uses an infrared seeker with an ultraviolet capability, Army developers said.
Over the years, the small missile – which can be shoulder fired or fired from a vehicle-mounted launcher – has been used to attack helicopters, fixed-wing enemy aircraft and other large targets.
Using the new technology, the weapon can now destroy moving mini-drones weighing as little as 2-to-20 kilograms, Wayne Leonard, Product Lead for Stinger-Based Systems, told Scout Warrior in a special exclusive interview.
The new proximity fuse introduces an emerging technology to expand the target envelope of the Stinger, which can use both a laser rangefinder and forward-looking infrared sensor when fired from the Avenger.
“There’s an antenna that is around this warhead that is sensing to see if it is passing a target. If if passes a target, it detonates. The antenna is detecting movement. Fragments penetrate through the target that is in flight,” Leonard said.