Weapons

FIM-92 Stinger in the Soviet war in Afghanistan

The FIM-92 Stinger is a personal portable infrared homing surface-to-air missile developed in the United States and entered into service in 1981. Used by the militaries of the U.S. and by 29 other countries, the basic Stinger missile has to-date been responsible for 270 confirmed aircraft kills. It is manufactured by Raytheon Missile Systems and under license by EADS in Germany, with 70,000 missiles produced. It is classified as a Man-Portable Air-Defense System (MANPADS).

The Central Intelligence Agency supplied nearly 500 Stingers (some sources claim 1,5002,000) to the Mujahideen fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan during Operation Cyclone, the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, where they were used quite successfully.[vague] After the 1989 Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the United States attempted to buy back the Stinger missiles, with a 55 million dollar program to buy back around 300 missiles (US$183,300 each). The U.S. government collected most of the Stingers it had delivered, but some of them found their way into Iran, Qatar and North Korea. Also, as part of its effort to overthrow Angola’s government, the Reagan administration provided Stingers to UNITA anti-government fighters in the late 1980s. In both cases, efforts to recover missiles after the end of hostilities proved incomplete. There has been speculation that the reason the Stinger has not been used in further attacks is because the batteries that are needed for the launcher to function have expired. However, local indigenous version of stinger missiles fielded by the Pakistani Army was used in the Kargil War and shot down an Indian Air Force Mi-8 Helicopter and a MiG-21 aircraft, as well as damaging a Canberra reconnaissance aircraft. Pakistan has begun phasing out its inventory of the original American made models completely. The Pakistan indigenous Stinger missile is said to contain an improved IR seeker to better follow its intended targe

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