This Stinger Missile Is Back

    Charlie Gao

    Security, North America

    She might be old, but she is deadly. 

    The FIM-92 Stinger surface-to-air missile has been a staple of America’s short-range air defense network since the 1970s. It also has been wildly successful on the export market, being used by almost every NATO country and U.S. ally. The U.S. Military is now upgrading their Stinger to the new FIM-92J and FIM-92K models to effectively counter all aerial threats in the near future. The J model includes substantial improvements in lethality, updated components to help extend the “shelf life” and decrease the maintenance cost of these missiles.

    The last update to the shoulder-fired Stinger occurred in the early 2000s, with the FIM-92F. This variant included a software upgrade from the FIM-92E, improving its ability to distinguish targets from countermeasures. It leveraged the programmable microprocessor that was present in Stinger missiles since the FIM-92C.

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    A more ambitious program, called Stinger RMP Block II was also initiated in the late 1990s, which would have incorporated a focal plane array into the Stinger to allow for even better detection. However, with the onset of the War on Terror and different budgeting priorities, this program was canned. When asked about RMP Block II, the Stinger program director at Raytheon stated that the Stinger’s detection and lethality already were more than sufficient for regular aerial threats, making the RMP Block II upgrade unnecessary.

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