Defense Media Network

Proximity-fuzed Stinger Missiles Down Small Unmanned Systems


Raytheon Stinger missiles fitted with new proximity fuzes intercepted two small unmanned airborne systems (UAS) in a recent Army test on Eglin Air Force Base, according to a Raytheon Company news release.

The man-portable Stinger entered service with the United States in 1981, and has been continually improved and updated since. It now serves in all four armed services of the U.S. and in the armed forces of 18 countries around the world. The latest variants of Stinger’s 5-foot-long missile have infrared and ultraviolet seeker/guidance and has been combat proven in four major conflicts.

This latest development of the venerable weapon system introduces proximity fuzing that makes the weapon more lethal against small targets such as unmanned drones. In the most recent test, Stingers shot down an MQM-170C Outlaw UAS and a smaller, so far unidentified system, with a warhead that can detonate at close range as well as in direct contact.

“Stingers are usually loaded with direct impact warheads, which is appropriate for larger targets such as cruise missiles and aircraft,” said Kim Ernzen, vice president of Raytheon’s Land Warfare Systems product line. “The new proximity fuze gives ground forces the ability to engage small, elusive targets using a proven, familiar system.

As well as being man-portable, Stingers are now employed aboard helicopters in an air-to-air configuration, and aboard ground-based vehicles.