The US has delivered hundreds of Stinger missiles to Ukraine this week amid its war with Russia. Around 200 Stinger missiles were delivered on Monday, as per the briefing to two US congressional officials.
According to NBC, these shipments are part of the aid package that the White House announced on Friday. Apart from Stinger missiles, the package also includes Javelin anti-tank missiles that the Ukrainian government said that it requires to fend off the Russian troops.
Moreover, Germany also announced over the weekend that it will send around 500 Stinger missiles, while the Netherlands said it will provide 200 Stinger missiles to Ukraine.
Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania said in January they would provide Ukraine with US-made anti-armour and anti-aircraft missiles, days after receiving clearance from the US State Department. Lithuania sent Stingers, while Estonia sent Javelin.
What is a Stinger missile?
The FIM-92 Stinger is a portable missile that can be shoulder-fired by a single person or a man-portable air defence system or MANPADS. The missile can be fired from various positions including ground vehicles, helicopters, and airborne troops.
The Stinger missile is 1.52 m long and 70 mm in diameter. It has 100 mm fins. It weighs 10.1 kg but weighs 15.2 kg with its launch tube and integral sight.
It is used for engaging low altitude threats at up to 3,800 m and has a targeting range of up to 4,800 m. It has a maximum speed of Mach 2.54 (750 m/s). Once it is fired the warhead that has a self-destruct timer explodes 17 seconds later.
Stinger missile’s origin and history
The FIM-92 Stinger was brought about by General Dynamics to improve their 1967 FIM-43 Redeye. The first shoulder-launch version was tested in mid-1975. Production of the FIM-92A began in 1978, while FIM-92B was produced in 1983. The replacement FIM-92C was developed in 1984 and production began in 1987. There were further tweaks and changes, with more variants.
The first time the Stinger FM-92 was used was during the Falklands War between the United Kingdom and Argentina in 1982. Special Air Service soldiers of the British Army shot down an Argentine Pucara ground attack aircraft and another helicopter with Stingers.
The Stinger missiles were also part of the Soviet war in Afghanistan. The US Air Defence Artillery Yearbook from 1993 stated that the Mujahideen, according to its reports, used Stingers to shoot down 269 aircraft in around 340 engagements, translating to a 79 per cent kill probability. The Pakistan Army, however, fired 28 Stingers but with no kills.
The Soviets stated that they lost only 38 aircraft/helicopters, and 14 more were damaged by MANPADS.
The Stringers were also used in other wars and conflicts, including the Chechen war, Sri Lankan civil war, and the Syrian civil war.
Many countries, including India, Germany, Israel, Pakistan, Turkey, the US and the UK use Stinger missiles.
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