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FIM-92 Stinger


FIM-92 Stinger

Ukrainian soldier ready to launch a FIM-92 Stinger missile in the vicinity of Bakhmut in 2022.
Source: - © CC BY 4.0

United States
Man portable SAM system
Entered service
In service
1969 - 1982
United States - General Dynamics
1978 - present
United States - General Dynamics
United States - Raytheon
Germany - EADS
Switzerland - RUAG (3.500 pc.)
Turkey - Roketsan
Unit cost
$ 38.000 in 1980
$ 120.000 in 2020
$ 150.000 in 2022
Number produced
15.669 FIM-92A and <600 B
Over 30.000 FIM-92C
Redeye II (early project name)
AIM-92 / Air To Air Stinger (ATAS)
Fliegerfaust 2 (German service)



The FIM-92 Stinger is a late Cold War era man portable air defense system of US origin. It was developed as a more capable successor to the FIM-43 Redeye. The Stinger is one of the most widely used and best known man portable SAM systems.


The Stinger is a lightweight missile with a solid propellant rocket motor and a booster charge that expels it from the launch tube. An infrared sensor is mounted on the nose and is connected to an onboard computer. Small fins steer the missile towards its target. The high explosive fragmentation warhead has an impact fuse. Modern Stinger variants use a proximity fuse. The reusable launch tube is fitted with an optical sight and IFF antenna. The AN/PAS-18 thermal sight allows for operation at night.


Stinger uses passive infrared homing as its guidance. The seeker can lock on to both head on and receding targets. The seeker and computer have been improved over time. From FIM-92B onward a dual spectrum infrared and ultraviolet seeker is used. FIM-92K uses a data link that allows an external sensor to acquire a target beyond the acquisition range of the sensor of the Stinger itself. The missile steers towards the target using the data link and acquires the target mid flight.


The Stinger features a seeker that allows for an all aspect engagement of helicopters and aircraft. The missile has a range of 4.8 km and ceiling of 3.8 km. The practical effective range and ceiling depends on the flight parameters of the target. The high explosive fragmentation warhead has proven effective upon impact. For a long time the warhead lacked a proximity fuse, which greatly increases performance against certain types of targets, for instance UAVs.


The Stinger is a man portable system that can be operated and shoulder launched by a single operator. Often an assistant gunner helps out with situational awareness, communication and reloading. In addition mounts where the operator is seated are available, such as the Dual Mounted Stinger. The Stinger can also be launched by vehicles, of which the Avenger and Ozelot are well known examples. On helicopters the Stinger can be used in an air-to-air mode against enemy helicopters.


The Stinger was first adopted by the United States and is widely employed as a portable weapon and mounted on vehicles and helicopters. Many NATO members and other nations with good ties to the USA adopted the Stinger, making it one of the most common systems in use.


The Stinger missile has been updated over time. Current production models are in a different league than the first Stinger model that was introduced.

Most variants of the Stinger missile have been produced both as new missiles and as a rebuilt and life extension program applied to older stocks of missiles.

FIM-92 Stinger

US marines launching a FIM-92 Stinger surface to air missile in 2017.
Source: US Marine Corps - © Public domain

List of Stinger variants

Stinger Basic
FIM-92A Stinger was the first variant to be introduced in 1981. This is the only version with single channel seeker. Later renamed to Stinger Basic to distinguish from more advanced models. A total of 15.667 produced from 1981 to 1987. Thousands updated to FIM-92D.
Stinger POST
FIM-92B is an updated Stinger with Passive Optical Seeker Technique (POST), introducing a dual channel seeker in the infrared and ultraviolet ranges. The second channel is used to identify the target in case flares are used. Low rate production of less than 600 from 1983 to 1987. Many updated to FIM-92D.
Stinger RMP
FIM-92C introduced the Reprogrammable Micro Processor (RMP). Over 30.000 produced from 1987 to the mid 1990's. About 8.500 older A and B models upgraded with RMP technology are known as FIM-92D.
Stinger RMP Block I
FIM-92E is a further development of the Stinger RMP to include better performance against countermeasure and ability to target aircraft with low signatures, such as UAVs and utility aircraft. Many RMP have been updated to Block 1 standard. FIM-92D with Block I update is known as FIM-92H.
Stinger with proximity fuse
FIM-92J is a Block I upgrade introduced in 2018 that incorporates a proximity fuse and new flight motor and booster. Produced new and as upgrade. FIM-92K is similar but adds a datalink that allows for lock on after launch capability, extending effective range against low signature targets.
Air To Air Stinger
Stinger missiles used in the air to air role. Informally known as AIM-92. First generation ATAS missiles are regular FIM-92B and C. ATAS Block I uses the FIM-92E RMP missile. ATAS Block II has dedicated optimized code for the RMP missile to better distinguish helicopters from background clutter.


Facts FIM-92A FIM-92B FIM-92C FIM-92E FIM-92K
United States
Surface to air missile
1.37 m in flight
1.52 m with booster section
70 mm
140 mm
10.1 kg missile
15.7 kg with gripstock launcher
Guidance mode
Infrared homing
All aspect
3 kg warhead with 1 kg hexogen filler
Engagement envelope
Solid propellant rocket motor, plus booster
Mach 2.2 peak
Over 4 km
3.5 km

Platforms armed with Stinger

Note: incomplete list

Gripstock launcher

The FIM-92 Stinger was introduced as a man portable system using a reusable gripstock launcher. The gripstock launcher is very portable and allows the operator to step out of cover just before launch.

Dual Mounted Stinger

Tripod mounted system with two Stinger missiles ready to fire. The operator is seated, allowing the operator to guard airspace for a longer time than standing with a gripstock launcher.

DMS on tactical vehicle

Various nations have fitted the Dual Mounted Stinger system to tactical vehicles for increased mobility. The photo shows as Mercedes Benz 290 GB. Other known platforms include the American HMMWV.


Israeli upgrade of the M163 self-propelled anti-aircraft gun with pod with four Stinger missiles in addition to the 20mm M168 gatling gun.

M6 Bradley Linebacker

Variant of the Bradley with pod with four Stinger missiles instead of the TOW anti-tank missiles.

Fennek SWP

Dutch variant of the Fennek. Fitted with low profile turret with four Stinger missiles ready to launch.

Boeing AH-64 Apache

The Apache can be armed with AIM-92 Air To Air Stinger missiles on a wingtip launcher.


Related articles

FIM-43 Redeye

The FIM-92 Stinger was developed as a more capable successor of the FIM-43 Redeye. During development the Stinger was known as Redeye II.

9K38 Igla

The Igla can be considered the Soviet/Russian counterpart to the Stinger. The Igla has a better performance than earlier generations of Soviet MANPADS.

Type 91 Kin-SAM

The Japanese Type 91 Kin-SAM is very akin to the Stinger.