FIM-92 Stinger MANPAD showed itself well in Ukraine. Despite the rather respectable age of the Stinger, along with other air defense systems, Russian “analog” planes and helicopters are shot down every day, but the age of this MANPADS matters. Raytheon, the manufacturer of Stinger, does not have time to quickly replenish missile stocks for MANPADS, and there are several reasons for this.The War Zone writes about some of them.
Development of the FIM-92 Stinger began in 1967, and in 1981 the complex was put into service by the US Army. That is, during the war in Afghanistan (1979-1989) it was really the latest weapon. Now, forty years later, despite a series of upgrades, the last of which took place in 2017-18, Stinger is a bit outdated. This includes components of missiles, some of which are no longer produced. In addition, the Pentagon, having considerable stockpiles of Stinger missiles for 18 years has not ordered to replenish the arsenal.
Therefore, Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes acknowledged that the company could not quickly produce a large number of Stinger MANPADS for shipment to Ukraine. Raytheon is now working closely with the US Department of Defense to address this issue. The company may have to remake some of the electronics in the complex. Hayes claims that Raytheon will do everything possible to increase production.
There is another rather unexpected problem. This is Raytheon staff. Some of the specialists who worked 20 years ago have already retired, and new employees of the company have learned to assemble more advanced and modern systems, such as Tomahawk or AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, i.e. they will also need to restore not only old technologies and technological chains, but also to remember old production skills.
In total, since the beginning of 2022, Ukraine, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Mark Milliey, has received from partners 25,000 MANPADS of various types. Most likely, the number of missiles for MANPADS is meant, not launchers, because one of the largest packages, namely from the United States, contained exactly 1,400 missiles for MANPADS FIM-92 Stinger.