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Americans are looking for a successor to Stinger – it’s about 8,000 rockets

WARSAW, (BM) – The US government has announced the launch of market research to acquire a new generation of MANPADS. This is due to, on the one hand, the aging of the existing Stinger sets, and on the other hand, to the increase in threats from the air, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24.

Read more: US Stinger man-portable air defense system ‘sting’ more seriously than the Russian ‘needle’

The Americans emphasize that the Stinger RMP missiles will become obsolete in fiscal 2023, while the current Stinger Block I sets are being modified to extend their service life. They also receive proximity detonators. At the same time, in recent years, the US army has been struggling with the need to rebuild the potential of short- and very short-range air defense, due to the increase in threats from potential enemy aviation and unmanned systems.

The conducted analyzes are to prepare the Americans for ordering new MANPADS. It is expected that they will be obtained in an open procedure, fully competitive, and the contract for 8,000 rockets is to be signed no later than fiscal year 2026.

According to the content of the request for information, the new system should be:

  • portable;
  • Complete [All-Up-Round];
  • Capable of being integrated with the Stinger SVUL universal missile launcher, which is a component of the IM-SHORAD anti-aircraft systems;
  • Capable of fighting attack aircraft and helicopters, as well as Group 2 and 3 drones according to the US classification. The US Army wants the MANPADS system to be able to shoot down relatively small drones, even weighing 21-55 pounds, or approx. 9-25 kg, like the Scan Eagle machine. It is emphasized that its capabilities in this regard must be the same or greater than that of the Stinger with a proximity fuse.

In addition, the considered solutions must be adapted to use in maneuvering operations of land forces in various battlefield conditions. They should provide security, transport capacity, mobility, cybersecurity, as well as training opportunities, the “human factor” and Integrated Logistics Support [ILS]. Therefore, they must be able to deliver them to operational activities [Full Materiel Release]. The Americans also point out that the system should be characterized by high reliability and operational availability.

The last of the requirements disclosed is the ability to produce a given solution as part of “production line processes”. This may suggest that Americans allow the possibility of obtaining a certain technology from outside and then producing it at home, as is the case with the AT-4 grenade launchers commonly used in the American army, originally developed by the Swedish Saab and licensed in the USA,

The American program of the next-generation portable anti-aircraft defense system is further proof that systems of this type play a very important role in the modern battlefield, increasingly saturated with low-flying aircraft such as helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles. MANPADS sets can effectively combat them, while ensuring mobility and flexibility of use – both on portable and self-propelled launchers [in the case of the U.S. Army, the role of the latter will be played by the newly acquired IM-SHORAD sets as needed].

It is also important that the US armed forces, which have the most powerful air force in the world, decide to develop this type of capabilities. However, in a conflict of high intensity, having effective ground air defense is a necessity due to the limitations of aviation [eg attachment to bases], and portable sets remain an integral part of its “lower floor”.

Polish industry has the ability to build portable MANPADS sets. From 2018, the new generation Piorun sets manufactured at the Mesko plant have been introduced to the Polish Armed Forces, which are to complement and replace the previous generation Groma, exported by to Lithuania, Indonesia, Georgia and the USA. Polish kits could therefore be offered to the Americans.

Read more: Top 5 best anti-tank missile systems in the world

It should be remembered that despite the functioning of the “Buy American” principle in the US, in some cases the armed forces decide to purchase equipment abroad, potentially with the transfer of technology. This was the case with the aforementioned AT-4 grenade launchers, but also with Bonus artillery ammunition and NSM missiles, and the Nemo self-propelled mortars can also join the group of “Americanized” systems of European production. The American program is therefore an opportunity for Polish industry.

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