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The AIM-92 Stinger missile with fins folded and deployed (scale is approximate)

The AIM-92 Air-to-Air Stinger is an American infrared homing air-to-air missile. It was introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision". It is a helicopter-mounted variant of the well known FIM-92 Stinger fire-and-forget shoulder-fired anti-air missile.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

General info

Missile characteristics
Mass 10 kg
Guidance IR
Aspect All-aspects
Lock range (rear-aspect) 6 km
Lock range (all-aspect) 6 km
Launch range 5 km
Maximum speed 2.2 M
Maximum overload 10 G
Missile guidance time 17 secs
Explosive mass 540 g TNTe

Effective damage

The damage of the missile is poor to say the least, it requires a direct hit on a vital part like the engines or fuel tanks in order to do significant damage. Helicopters can be hit in the main fuselage by the Stinger with minimal damage to the flight performance. Securing a hit to a vital component is essential.

Comparison with analogues

The missile is identical in many points to the Soviet 9M39 Igla. Its top speed is higher, and it only has a slightly longer guidance time and a slightly larger explosive mass.

Usage in battles

This missile is designed with helicopter-based air to air combat in mind, with an emphasis on defence against strafing attacks by jets. The Stinger allows the helicopter to counterattack an aircraft that is quickly closing in, usually destroying or crippling it before it can fire. It is also useful against other helicopters, and its longer lock-on range than most IR missiles will give it a competitive advantage.

Pros and cons


  • Best lock-on range of all helicopter IR missiles
  • All-aspect tracking


  • Worse tracking than other missiles of its class
  • Abysmal explosive mass compared to contemporaries


Stinger Development

In the 1960s, the US military's standard man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) was the FIM-43 Redeye, a missile launcher developed by Convair/Ponoma. However, the Redeye missiles were deemed to be too slow, unmanoeuverable, and could not distinguish its target source well enough to be an effective anti-aircraft weapon.[1] A program for an improved missile was launched in 1967, titled Redeye II. This new missile program was part of the Advanced Sensor Development Program, which sought to give the man-portable missile an all-aspect seeking capability. By 1971, Redeye II was chosen as the next standard MANPADS missile, and was given the designation FIM-92. The name of the program was eventually changed in March 1972 into the Stinger.[2]

A US Army Sergeant shoulders a FIM-92 Stinger.

The contract to develop the missiles went to General Dynamics in June 1972.[1] The first tests with the missiles began in November 1973, though technical problems caused delays that the first missile was only fired shoulder-launched in 1975.[2] The Stinger Production Qualification Test-Government (PQT-G) began in April 1976.[3] The PQT-G concluded in 1977, and resulted in a mass production contract in April 1978 for General Dynamics to produce the FIM-92A Stinger missiles. The missiles reached the US military, where the Stinger missiles reached IOC (Initial Operational Capability) status in February 1981, resulting in the Stinger's steady replacement of all other MANPADS in service. The basic model, the FIM-92A, featured a cooled conical-scan IR seeker that allowed all-aspect acquisition and homing abilities as well as a AN/PPX-1 Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF) system.[1]

Improvements into the FIM-92 stingers led to succeeding variants. The FIM-92B started development in 1977. It is also known as Stinger-POST (Passive Optical Seeker Technique) and featured an improved IR/UV seeker to better distinguish countermeasures. The next version, the FIM-92C began development in 1984 and was named as Stinger-RMP (Reprogrammable MicroProcessor). Introducing a new microprocessor that was reprogrammable, the Stinger-RMP allowed the Stinger platform to adapt to new threats and countermeasures without requiring a new missile design. The Stinger-RMP became the basis of the succeeding FIM-92D to G variants, which featured various improvements on the Stinger-RMP capabilities.[1]


An ATAS armament arrangement on the stub-wing of a EC-665 Tiger UHT.

During the 1980s, around when the improved Stinger-RMP models became operational, these missiles were used as a basis for air-to-air weapons on aerial mounts. These adapted missiles are officially recognized as ATAS (Air To Air Stinger). The missiles were initially designed and mounted onto OH-58 Kiowa observation helicopters for self-defence against enemy air targets.[4] Though the Stinger is sometimes referred to as AIM-92 in the air configuration, it has been suggested that this naming is unofficial and that the ATAS is still referred as a FIM-92.[2]

As with the standard Stinger-RMP, the ATAS were also upgraded in similar fashion. The first was the Block I modification which introduced improvements such as the removal of the need to "super-elevate" the missile (the additional elevation angle added to the missile's line-of-sight).[5] The second improvement was the Block II modification which introduced a new seeker, a new battery, and advanced signal processing capabilities. These upgrades aim at improving the missile's shelf life, missile accuracy, night-fighting capability, and IRCCM capability.[1]



See also

  • 9M39 Igla - Soviet anti-aircraft missile that was also derived from a MANPADS platform.

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Pike and Sherman 2000
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Parsch 2005
  3. Army Technology "Stinger Man-Portable Air Defence System (MANPADS)"
  4. Lawrence et al. 1988, pg 1
  5. "Chapter 3: Firing the Stinger"
  • Army Technology. "Stinger Man-Portable Air Defence System (MANPADS)." Army Technology, Verdict Media Limited, Website. Accessed 07 Apr. 2021 (Web Archive).
  • "Chapter 3: Firing the Stinger" Global Security, Website. Accessed 07 Apr. 2021 (Web Archive).
  • Lawrence, John S, et al. Preliminary Airworthiness Evaluation of the AH-64A Equipped with the Air To Air Stinger (ATAS) Missile System. Defense Technical Information Center, December 1988.
  • Parsch, Andreas. "FIM-92" Designation Systems, 14 Feb. 2005, Website. Accessed 07 Apr. 2021 (Web Archive).
  • Pike, John; Sherman, Robert. "FIM-92A Stinger Weapons System: RMP & Basic." Federation of American Scientists - Military Analysis Network, 09 Aug. 2000, Website. Accessed 07 Apr. 2021 (Web Archive).

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