The FIM-92 Stinger is the US military's principle man-portable air defence system (MANPADS). It was initially developed as a simple upgrade to the FIM-43 Redeye by General Dynamics, and was called the FIM-43 Redeye II before being designated as FIM-92 in 1971 and Stinger in 1972. Technical challenges meant the first successful shoulder launch did not take place until 1975, with the initial "A" variant entering production in 1978. Originally developed as a pure passive IR-seeking system and updated to use dual-mode passive IR / UV starting with the FIM-92B in 1983 in order to defeat flares, it is a fire-and-forget weapon using a soft-launch missile with a two-stage main booster, with the business end a 6.6-pound hit-to-kill annular blast fragmentation warhead. In infantry use, it is typically issued to a two-man crew.
A Stinger has two main parts: the larger is the disposable Launch Tube Assembly, which incorporates the fiberglass launch tube, a 22-pound, 5-foot encased missile with an attached launch motor, a desiccant cartridge with a moisture indicator, and the weapon's sighting unit. The other is the reusable gripstock assembly, which includes the trigger assembly, controls, and the folding IFF (identify friend or foe) antenna. Two additional parts are the BCU (battery coolant unit) cartridge which is inserted into a well in the underside of the gripstock with a quarter-turn to lock it (something which is almost never shown being done in media) and provides a 45 second supply of both power from a thermal battery and argon coolant gas for the missile seeker once activated (meaning the user has 45 seconds to fire the weapon once the BCU has been activated, or they will have to insert a new one), and the optional IFF interrogator, a small computer which is worn on the user's belt and connects to the base of the pistol grip via a wire which gives both a data and power connection (the IFF antenna runs off the interrogator's battery, not the BCU). Without the latter, the weapon's IFF antenna does nothing: with it, the system can interrogate targets, identifying them as either friendly or unknown. The IFF only provides a "beep" response when the "challenge" button on the launcher is pressed (many short beeps means unknown, two half-second beeps at a half-second interval means positive friend, one 1.5 second beep a possible friend, no beep a malfunction), it does not prevent the Stinger from locking on or firing. The Stinger does not require the IFF antenna to be open in order to fire: frequently it is shown in the deployed position in media in scenarios where there would be no need for it or without the interrogator connected, seemingly just because it looks good.
A complete Stinger is issued as a single "weapon-round" (as opposed to a "missile-round," which is just the LTA: Stingers are shipped long distances with the gripstocks separated to reduce their usefulness if stolen) in a protective case with either three or five BCUs, an IFF interrogator and a set of earplugs (FM 44-18-1 warns that permanent deafness will result from exposure to more than two firings without ear protection). While the gripstock is reusable, a Stinger team is usually only issued with two missile-rounds compared to four weapon-rounds, so it is not common for a Stinger to be "reloaded" in the field. Mating the gripstock to an LTA requires a protective cover be removed from the LTA's underside: the gripstock then slides into position and is locked with a latch at the front of the assembly. The LTA used in mounted Stinger variants such as the Standard Vehicle Mounted Launcher (SVML) is identical to the MANPADS version, and LTAs can be dismounted and fitted with gripstocks as normal if the vehicle is disabled.
In 1991 the US Marine Corps began a program called WASP (Wide-Angle Stinger Pointer) to develop a night-vision sight for the Stinger. Raytheon designed a sight derived from their existing AN/PAS-13B, the AN/PAS-18, which was adopted by the USMC as the Stinger Night Sight (SNS) in 1993. The SNS is a passive night-vision scope that attaches to the top of the launch tube: as well as the USMC, it has also been adopted by the German Air Force as part of the VSHORAD (Very Short Range Air Defence) system, and Euroatlas GmbH has produced a variant of the design adapted to fit on the Russian SA-16 "Gimlet" missile system.
Note: Before adding to this list, make sure that you have checked the FIM-43 Redeye page. For anime in particular, also check the Type 91 MANPADS page. For a brief guide in differentiating these three weapons, see the bottom of this page. For a brief guide to the actual firing procedure of a Stinger (which is very rarely shown correctly in media) see this section on the discussion page.
Type: Surface-to-air missile (FIM-92), air-to-air missile (AIM-92 ATAS and ATAL)
Caliber: 70mm (2.76in) Missile, hit-to-kill annular blast fragmentation warhead (added proximity sensor on FIM-92J, remote command detonation based on a laser rangefinder under testing for AN/TWQ-1 Avenger)
Capacity: 1 missile in disposable launch tube (MANPADS version), 2 missiles in disposable launch tubes (ATAS, ATAL, Stinger DMS), 4 missile launch tubes in reloadable SVML (Boeing Laser Avenger and M6 Bradley Linebacker, latter system retired 2005-2006), 8 missile launch tubes in two SVMLs (AN/TWQ-1 Avenger)
System weight: FIM-92A: 33.5 lb (15.19 kg)
Missile weight: 22 lb (10.1 kg)
Length: 59.8 in (1.52 m)
Fire Modes: Single shot, IR homing (FIM-92A), dual IR and UV homing (FIM-92B and later), IR, UV and passive radar (Stinger ADSM), imaging infrared (Stinger RMP Block II, cancelled)
The FIM-92 Stinger has appeared used by the following actors in the following movies, video games, and television series:
In live-action works a "Stinger" is usually a real, expended Stinger launch tube with its integrated sighting unit (as these are in many jurisdictions treated as expended rounds of ammunition), mounted on a prop gripstock unit. These props can be distinguished from a real gripstock by inaccuracies in the IFF antenna design (which is often rather wobbly) and often having a totally flat front, without the latch for attaching the gripstock to the launch tube.
|The Fourth War||U.S. Army soldiers||Prop gripstock||1990|
|Fire Birds||Sean Young||CWO Billie Lee Guthrie||With a real gripstock||1990|
|Fire Birds||AIM-92 ATAS, mounted on AH-64 Apache helicopters||1990|
|True Lies||Crimson Jihad terrorists||With both real and prop gripstock in different shots||1994|
|Soldier Boyz||Vinh Moc's soldier||Prop replica||1995|
|Canadian Bacon||Kevin J. O'Connor||Roy Boy||Prop replica||1995|
|2009: Lost Memories||Fureisenjin terrorists||Spent tube with no gripstock||2002|
|Charlie Wilson's War||Mujahadeen fighters||Prop gripstock and blown-out IR window||2007|
|Charlie Wilson's War||Tom Hanks||Charlie Wilson||Prop gripstock and blown-out IR window||2007|
|The Day the Earth Stood Still||U.S. Army soldier||Mounted on M1097 Avenger Humvee||2008|
|Olympus Has Fallen||AIM-92 Stinger ATAS, mounted on Black Hawk helicopters||2013|
|Terminator: Genisys||Resistance fighter||Prop gripstock and blown-out IR window||2015|
|London Has Fallen||Terrorists||Prop gripstock and blown-out IR window||2016|
|Show Title||Actor||Character||Note/Episode||Air Date|
|JAG||Lee Tergesen||Gunnery Sgt. Gentry||"Brig Break"||1995|
|Stargate SG-1||U.S military personnel||"Children of the Gods" (S1E01)||1997|
|NCIS||seen in weapons cache; "Enigma" (S1E15)||2004|
|JAG||Terrorist||"A Tangled Webb, Part I" (S8E24)||2008|
|Doctor Who||British Army soldiers||"Doomsday" (S2E13), Incorrectly used against ground targets||2006|
|The Unit||Scott Foley||Sgt. Bob Brown||"Eating the Young" (S1E09)||2006|
|CSI: Miami||Vincent Laresca||Antonio Riaz||"One of Our Own" (S4E25)||2006|
|Lost||"Cabin Fever" (S4E11)||2008|
|Doctor Who||UNIT soldiers||"Poison Sky" (S4E05); Incorrectly used against ground targets||2008|
|Branch (Expozitura)||The assassins||9th/ "Král je mrtev"||2009|
|Meteor||Army National Guard||2009|
|The Blacklist||seen in weapons sale; "The Stewmaker (No. 161)" (S1E04)||2013|
Video games tend to drastically reduce the Stinger's minimum effective range (often having it seek right out of the tube rather than flying in a straight line for 660 feet) and will typically give it some kind of digital targeting interface, even if this is somehow generated by its normal iron sights.
|Game Title||Appears as||Mods||Notation||Release Date|
|Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake||1990|
|Resident Evil 2||1998|
|Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty||2001|
|Operation Flashpoint||AA Launcher||2001|
|Conflict: Desert Storm||2002|
|Shadow Force: Razor Unit||AA Launcher||2002|
|America's Army||Stored in crates in multiplayer mode, non-playable||2002|
|Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas||2004|
|Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising||2004|
|Söldner: Secret Wars||2004|
|Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes||2004|
|Battlefield 2||In twin mount and quad launcher on M6 Linebacker||2005|
|Project Reality||Shoulder, twin, and vehicle-mounted||2005|
|Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare||2007|
|World in Conflict||2007|
|Mercenaries 2: World in Flames||2008|
|Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots||2008|
|Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising||With AN/PVS-4 Thermal Scope||2009|
|Modern Warfare 2||Stinger||2009|
|Resident Evil 5||Desperate Escape DLC||2009|
|Call of Duty: Black Ops||SAM Turret||FIM-92 Stinger DMS version, incorrectly depicted as autonomous, anachronistic||2010|
|Ace Combat: Assault Horizon||Simplistic launcher model designed to produce a convincing shadow, and AIM-92 ATAS launchers optional for AH-64 Apache||2011|
|Battlefield Play4Free||In twin mount||2011|
|Modern Warfare 3||Stinger||Incorrect backward-sloped grip, iron sights generate digital targeting boxes||2011|
|Operation Flashpoint: Red River||2011|
|Project Reality: Falklands||Shoulder and twin mount||2012|
|Resident Evil: Revelations||2012|
|Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance||Homing Missile||"Futurised" version with radome instead of IFF antenna||2013|
|Grand Theft Auto V||Homing Launcher||Incorrectly muzzle loaded with warhead outside like RPG-7||2013|
|Hot Dogs, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades||Stinger MANPADS||2016|
See the section below on checking the weapon is not a Type 91 MANPADS, as these are quite common in recent anime.
|Gokumon||Violence Jack: Hell's Wind Hen||1990|
|Kuze||Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig||2004 - 2005|
|Dejima refugees||Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig||2004 - 2005|
|Major Pollack's militia||Jormungand||Refurbished FIM-92As||2012|
Training Set Guided Missile M134
The M134 training set is an inert system that is used to train Stinger gunners in target tracking and acquisition and is only capable of lobbing a large blue dummy missile with a real tracker head but no main motor a short distance, to acclimate gunners to the feeling of the missile exiting the tube. A large performance indicator box is fitted to the rear-left of the LTA. Instead of a BCU it uses a training battery inserted into the same well which is 3 inches longer and around twice as heavy: this has enough power for 16 47-second training sessions. It is issued with a dummy IFF interrogator which provides random responses, though it is compatible with the real IFF interrogator unit too. "TRACKING TRAINER" is printed on the side of the gripstock, and "TRAINER, TRACKING" on the iron sight flap.
There is also a totally inert training version of the Stinger, the M60 Field Handling Trainer, which is used purely for handling and manual of arms drills. This can easily be identified by the word "DUMMY" on the side of the gripstock and either "DUMMY MISSILE" or "FIELD HANDLING TRAINER" on the iron sight flap.
|Game Title||Appears as||Mods||Notation||Release Date|
|Operation Flashpoint||FIM-92 Stinger||Incorrectly shown as a live weapon||2001|
|ArmA: Armed Assault||FIM-92F Stinger||With performance indicator removed, incorrectly shown as a live weapon||2007|
|ArmA II||FIM-92F Stinger||With performance indicator removed, incorrectly shown as a live weapon||2009|
|Battlefield 3||FIM-92 Stinger||With performance indicator removed, incorrectly shown as a live weapon||2011|
|Battlefield 4||FIM-92 Stinger||With performance indicator removed, incorrectly shown as a live weapon||2013|
How to tell the FIM-92 Stinger from the FIM-43 Redeye
The Redeye is an earlier MANPADS which is similar in outward appearance to the Stinger and due to the fact that it has since been retired from active service with the US military there are a higher number of deactivated launchers on the market meaning that it often stands in for the Stinger in live-action films and television (The FIM-92 Stinger is in fact an evolution of the FIM-43 Redeye, with developmental name of the Stinger being the "Redeye II"). There are however several key differences which can be used to identify a launcher as a Redeye:
How to tell the FIM-92 Stinger from the Type 91 MANPADS
The Japanese Type 91 MANPADS is another very similar weapon to the Stinger.