FIM-92 Stinger

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FIM-92 Stinger with IFF interrogator - 70mm
FIM-92 Stinger DMS (dual mount system) - 70mm. This system provides a power and coolant supply for two LTAs, and includes a radio set and datalink to provide the gunner with information from external early warning systems such as portable radars.
AN/TWQ-1 Avenger Air Defense System with two FIM-92 Stinger Standard Vehicle Mounted Launchers - 70mm

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.

Title Actor Character Note Date
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
Under Siege Henchmen 1992
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
Miami Vice Philip Michael Thomas Detective Ricardo Tubbs 1984-1989
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

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
Enemy Engaged: Apache/Havoc Shoulder and vehicle-mounted 1998
Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War Non-playable 2004
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Simplistic launcher model designed to produce a convincing shadow, and AIM-92 ATAS launchers optional for AH-64 Apache 2011
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake 1990
Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes 2004
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty 2001
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots 2008
Operation Flashpoint AA Launcher 2001
Conflict: Desert Storm 2002
Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising 2004
Söldner: Secret Wars 2004
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2007
Resident Evil 2 1998
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas 2004
Battlefield 2 In twin mount and quad launcher on M6 Linebacker 2005
Shadow Force: Razor Unit AA Launcher 2002
America's Army Stored in crates in multiplayer mode, non-playable 2002
Mercenaries 2: World in Flames 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
Project Reality Shoulder, twin, and vehicle-mounted 2005
Battlefield Play4Free In twin mount 2011
World in Conflict 2007
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
Ravaged 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


See the section below on checking the weapon is not a Type 91 MANPADS, as these are quite common in recent anime.

Character Film Title Note Date
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
JGSDF soldiers Saikano 2006
Kiefer Rideback 2009
Major Pollack's militia Jormungand Refurbished FIM-92As 2012

Training Set Guided Missile M134

Training Set Guided Missile M134, a tracking and acquisition training device for the FIM-92 Stinger - 70mm
Training Set Guided Missile M134 training battery compared to FIM-92 Stinger Battery Coolant Unit.

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 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.

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.

Video Games

Game Title Appears as Mods Notation Release Date
ArmA: Armed Assault FIM-92F Stinger With performance indicator removed, incorrectly shown as a live weapon 2007
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 MANPAD 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:

FIM-43 Redeye - 70mm. The Redeye launcher lacks the IFF box antenna found on the right side of a Stinger, the sighting unit is longer and extends further towards the front of the launcher tube, the bottom of the fire control unit is rounded, the battery pack protrudes even further out of the the bottom of the launcher than the trainer battery for the M134 trainer, and the pistol grip slopes backwards like on a conventional firearm, as opposed to the forward sloping grip found on the Stinger launcher.

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.

Type 91 MANPADS launcher on static display - 80mm. Note that the IFF antenna has two rows of half-height holes instead of one row of full-height holes, there is a rectangular device mounted diagonally on the side of the launcher directly below the sight that appears to be some kind of second eyepiece, and it has a short, broad muzzle that looks almost the same as the tailcone rather than the longer and flatter muzzle of the Stinger.

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