The first serial MANPADS of a modern appearance appeared in the sixties, and still remain in service with the armies of the world. Recent MANPADS projects created in the leading countries of the world.
In the structure of military air defense, an important place is occupied by portable anti-aircraft missile systems (MANPADS). Armament of this class complements other air defense systems, providing enhanced protection against air attack. The first serial MANPADS of modern appearance appeared in the sixties, and still remain in service with the armies of the world. Further development of such systems continues. Through the use of new technologies and ideas, it is possible to significantly increase the characteristics of MANPADS and, as a result, the protection of troops from an attack from the air. Consider the latest MANPADS projects created in the leading countries of the world.
In the armed forces of Russia and some other states, MANPADS of the Igla family are widely used. The newest system of the family is the 9K338 Igla-S complex, developed at the Mechanical Engineering Design Bureau (Kolomna) and put into service at the beginning of the 2000s. This project used some ideas borrowed from previous projects of the family, and in addition applied several new technologies and solutions. With the help of this approach to design, it was possible to ensure the possibility of hitting various targets, including cruise missiles and UAVs, both in pursuit and on a collision course.
Like previous domestic MANPADS, the Igla-S system has several main units. Military equipment includes a transport and launch container with a rocket, a power source and a refrigerant cylinder, as well as a reusable launcher that is attached to the container before use. In addition, the complex includes a mobile control point, as well as control, verification and training equipment.
The Igla-S complex uses a 3M342 guided missile with a solid-propellant engine and an infrared homing head. For target detection, two photodetectors operating in different ranges are used. To simplify the design of the rocket, the control system has only one pair of rudders, which is used for both pitch and yaw control. During the flight, the rocket rotates around the longitudinal axis, and maneuvering is carried out due to the timely deflection of the rudders to the desired angle.
The 3M342 rocket has a length of 1.635 m and a body diameter of 72 mm. The starting weight is 11.7 kg, the total weight of the complex is 19 kg. The product is equipped with two (starting and sustainer) solid fuel engines. The missile develops a speed of up to 600 m / s, and is capable of hitting targets at ranges of up to 6 km and altitudes in the range of 10-3500 m. On a collision course, the missile can hit targets moving at a speed of up to 400 m / s, on catch-up courses - up to 320 m /with. The missile is equipped with a high-explosive fragmentation warhead weighing 2.5 kg with contact and remote fuses. The missile control system uses the so-called. displacement scheme - the rocket is aimed not at the engine nozzle, but at the target body.
In 2001, the 9K338 Igla-S MANPADS passed state tests, and in 2002 it was put into service. At the same time, the supply of serial weapons of the new model began. According to some reports, the production of Igla-S systems continues to this day. A number of such MANPADS were supplied to foreign countries: Azerbaijan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Iraq, etc.
In the summer of 2014, it became known about the start of deliveries of serial MANPADS of the new model 9K333 "Verba". Like a number of other similar systems, "Verba" was developed by Kolomna specialists. The creation of the new complex has been going on since at least the middle of the last decade. Approximately in 2007, its tests began. Over the next few years, the development and refinement of the new system continued. Since 2012, the Plant named after. Degtyareva (Kovrov) produced missiles of the new complex, and the first batch, intended for supplies to the troops, was manufactured in the spring of last year.
Most of the information about the Verba complex has not yet been released. Moreover, even the appearance of this system remains unknown. According to some reports, the new MANPADS is equipped with an infrared tri-band homing head and has better characteristics in comparison with previous domestic systems of this class. So, the maximum firing range is estimated at 6-6.5 km, the maximum target destruction height - up to 4-4.5 km. More precise information is not available.
USA - FIM-92 Stinger
Since the beginning of the eighties, the armed forces of the United States and a number of foreign countries have been using FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS. Over the past decades, this complex has undergone several upgrades aimed at improving its characteristics. First of all. the guidance and control systems underwent improvements, which led to a noticeable increase in performance. In addition, certain measures are being taken to increase the service life.
Stinger complexes of all modifications have a similar composition. As part of these MANPADS, an anti-aircraft missile in a transport-launch container, a launch mechanism, an optical sight for visual preliminary guidance of a missile, a unit with an electric battery and a refrigerant, as well as friend-or-foe identification equipment are used.
FIM-92 MANPADS missiles of all modifications are built according to the "canard" scheme and are equipped with solid-propellant rocket engines. The missiles are equipped with dual-range infrared homing heads. Recent modernization projects provide for the use of GOS operating in both infrared and ultraviolet ranges. Such equipment provides more effective target detection and is less susceptible to interference.
Rockets of all modifications have a length of about 1500 mm and a body diameter of 70 mm. The launch weight of the rocket is about 10 kg. In a combat position, the complex weighs about 15-16 kg. The solid-propellant rocket engine used provides a flight speed of up to 700-750 m / s. To hit the target, a high-explosive fragmentation warhead weighing 2, 3 kg is used. The latest modifications of the Stinger complex are capable of flying at a distance of up to 8 km and hitting targets at altitudes up to 3.5 km.
The FIM-92 Stinger complex was adopted by the US Army in 1981 and soon replaced similar systems in its class. In addition, the Stinger MANPADS has been supplied to a large number of foreign countries. Such systems were actively used in various armed conflicts, starting with the battles for the Falkland Islands. There are projects of using Stinger missiles as weapons of ground-based air defense systems. In addition, such weapons can be used by aircraft of several types.
UK - Starstreak
In 1997, the UK adopted the Starstreak MANPADS, which had been in development since the mid-eighties. In this complex, it was proposed to use a number of original ideas. An interesting feature of the complex is the ability to perform in three configurations: portable, lightweight easel and self-propelled. Moreover, all variants are equipped with the same equipment and use the same missile.
The main element of the Starstreak MANPADS is the Starstreak HVM (High Velocity Missile) guided missile. Like other products of its class, this missile is delivered in a transport and launch container that docks with other elements of the complex. The Starstreak HVM missile is very different from other anti-aircraft weapons. Instead of the traditional high-explosive fragmentation warhead, an original one, consisting of three independent combat units, is installed on it. At the head of the rocket, three arrow-shaped striking elements are mounted, which are equipped with their own guidance systems and high-explosive fragmentation warheads.
For some reason, the authors of the project from Thales Air Defense decided to use semi-active laser guidance in the Starstreak complex. Before launching and until the target is hit, the operator of the complex must hold the aiming mark on the attacked object, illuminating it with a laser beam. According to some reports, in variants of self-propelled and easel air defense systems, automatic target tracking can be used.
After detecting and acquiring a target for tracking, the operator must launch, continuing to track the target. With the help of the starting engine, the rocket leaves the container and turns on the main engine. With the help of the latter, the rocket overcomes a certain distance to the target. After the solid fuel charge is depleted, three arrow-shaped striking elements are dropped. They, using their own systems, find a target and aim at it. It is argued that the use of three arrow-shaped elements can increase the likelihood of hitting a target. Once on an enemy aircraft or helicopter, the arrow-shaped ammunition penetrates its skin and damages the internal components, and then explodes, increasing damage.
The Starstreak HVM rocket has a length of 1.37 m and a maximum body diameter of 130 mm. The weight of the transport and launch container with the rocket is about 14 kg. Arrow-shaped striking elements 45 cm long and 2 cm in diameter are equipped with small stabilizers and rudders. The total mass of the three miniature warheads mounted on the striking elements is about 900 g. The Starstreak air defense system can hit targets at ranges up to 6 km and altitudes up to 5 km.
Starstreak HVM missiles can be used in several types of anti-aircraft complexes. First of all, this is a portable version, which uses a trigger and some other equipment. In addition, there is a modification of the LML, which is based on a lightweight machine for three containers with missiles and guidance equipment. For installation on self-propelled chassis, the Starstreak SP combat module with mounts for eight containers and a set of special equipment is offered.
The main operator of Starstreak MANPADS is the British Armed Forces. Since the beginning of the 2000s, a number of systems of this family have been supplied to foreign countries: Indonesia, Thailand and South Africa.
France - Mistral
Since the late eighties, the French military have been using Mistral MANPADS, developed by Matra BAE Dynamics (now part of the MBDA concern). In the mid-nineties, an updated modification of the complex appeared, having higher characteristics in comparison with the basic version. In addition, on the basis of this MANPADS, several variants of anti-aircraft systems were developed, differing from each other in basic machines, etc.
Despite all the efforts of the developers, the missile of the Mistral complex turned out to be quite heavy - its starting weight reaches 18, 7 kg. The mass of the rocket with a transport and launch container is 24 kg. For this reason, the authors of the project had to use an interesting solution that compensates for the large weight of the rocket, but significantly reduces the mobility of the complex in comparison with other systems of its class. All units of the portable version of the complex are mounted on a machine of a special design. A vertical stand with a small seat for the operator and holders for the transport and launch container of the rocket is attached to the tripod support. In addition, sights are attached to the rack. With the help of such a machine, the operator can direct the rocket in two planes.
The missile of the Mistral complex has a configuration and equipment standard for such products. At the same time, there were some original ideas. Thus, the rocket nose fairing has the shape of a polyhedral pyramid, which improves aerodynamic characteristics in comparison with traditional spherical fairings. The infrared seeker is built on the basis of a mosaic-type receiver, due to which it can find targets with a reduced radiation level, as well as distinguish them from interference and reflected radiation.
MANPADS Mistral is equipped with one of the largest missiles in its class. Its length reaches 1.86 m, the hull diameter is 90 mm, and its weight with a transport and launch container is 24 kg. The rocket is equipped with a launch and sustainer solid-propellant engines. The propulsion system accelerates the rocket up to 800 m / s. Locking of an "airplane" -type target is provided at ranges of up to 6 km, which is equal to the maximum range of the missile's flight. The maximum height of the defeat is 3 km. When using the Mistral complex to attack other targets, such as helicopters, the maximum range and height of detection and destruction are reduced. The target is defeated using a high-explosive fragmentation warhead weighing 3 kg. The warhead is equipped with contact and remote laser fuses.
Despite its large size and lack of serious advantages over other modern counterparts, the French-made Mistral complex interested not only the French armed forces, but also the military of other states. This MANPADS in various modifications was delivered to 25 countries of the world. In the interests of foreign armies, both systems in the basic configuration and anti-aircraft complexes based on self-propelled chassis were produced.
China - FN-6
In the late nineties, the Shanghai Academy of Space Technology took up the project of a new portable anti-aircraft missile system. The new development, called the FN-6, was first demonstrated in 2000. By this time, the complex was mass-produced and supplied to the part of the People's Liberation Army of China. Later, contracts were signed for the supply of such systems to foreign countries.
In terms of the general architecture and composition, the FN-6 MANPADS is a typical representative of the weapons of its class. It includes a transport and launch container with a rocket, a launcher and a set of special equipment. Like other missiles of this class, the ammunition of the FN-6 complex is equipped with an infrared seeker. A photodetector with four cells that receive target radiation is used. The seeker is covered with a pyramidal fairing. According to some reports, the Chinese-developed seeker is capable of finding a target using active jamming.
A rocket with a length of 1.49 m and a diameter of 71 mm weighs 10.8 kg. The mass of the complex, ready to use, is 16 kg. The rocket leaves the container using the starting engine, after which the sustainer is turned on. The solid-propellant propulsion engine accelerates the rocket to a speed of about 600 m / s. It provides destruction of targets at ranges of up to 6 km and altitudes of 15-3800 m. When firing on a collision course, FN-6 MANPADS can hit targets moving at speeds up to 800 m, when firing in pursuit, the target speed is limited to 500 m / s. In flight, the rocket can maneuver with an overload of up to 18 units.
MANPADS FN-6 was created by order of the People's Liberation Army of China, which received the weapons of the first serial batches. In the future, such weapons were acquired by several foreign states: Malaysia, Cambodia, Sudan, Pakistan, Syria, etc.
It is known about the development of upgraded versions of the FN-6 complex. So, in 2006, the FN-16 complex with increased characteristics was presented for the first time. According to some reports, the missile of this MANPADS is equipped with a dual-band homing head, which significantly increases its resistance to interference. Other modifications of the complex were also created.