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Oct 17
 
  Published by Dar Assayad Arab Defence Journal
Highlights   المعلوماتية العسكرية تكنولوجيا الدفاع حول العالم العالم العربي تحديث السلاح الافتتاحية رسالة الناشر
Manportable Surface-to-Air Missiles
Protecting frontline infantry forces from surprise attack or so-called pop-up threats from low-flying fixed-wing aircraft, attack helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is an ideal task for manportable air-defence systems (MANPADS).


These weapons are small, compact and are intended to carried on the backs of infantry soldiers as they march through jungles, up mountains or through the backstreets of cities.
Being able to bring these weapons rapidly into action is a key requirement otherwise fast moving aerial targets might escape and be able to launch devastating attacks.
Manpads have been in widespread use since the 1960s when the Soviet-made SA-7 Strella weapon made it combat debut in the Vietnam conflict. In reaction to the appearance of the SA-7, aircraft and helicopters started to be fitted with flare dispensers to decoy heat seeking missiles away from their targets. In response, Manpads started to be fitted with more effective seekers that can "see past" decoy flares.
Since then the designers and manufacturers of these weapons systems have dramatically improved their products, reducing their weight, improving reliability and introducing more effective infra-red seekers into missiles. These seekers make missiles better able to lock onto targets, including allowing missile engagements from the side or front, as well as making it more difficult for decoy flares to spoof missiles. Laser guidance has also been introduced as a way to confound the missile defence systems fitted to aircraft and helicopters.
The European companies, Saab and Thales, have continued to develop their RBS 70 and High Velocity Missile Starstreak products respectively - both of which are currently in service - with the former recently introducing its RBS 70 NG system.
Thales" Starstreak and Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) utilise laser beam-riding technology, and this means the operator needs to maintain involvement throughout the engagement cycle, which creates potential survivability issues. The Starstreak missile was designed specifically to address pop-up helicopter targets, it short into-action time, short time of flight, and lethal effect of the hit-to-kill guided dart system ensures that these pop-up targets can be engaged before they have time to release their weapons.
The Starstreak II is the latest iteration of the system and current users include the United Kingdom, Indonesia, and Thailand. The missile consists of a two-stage, solid propellant rocket motor assembly - an initial stage Brambling cast double-based propellant blip rocket motor to eject the weapon from the tube and a second stage boost motor. Each missile has three-winged darts, which, in turn, have their own guidance and control circuitry, high-density penetrating explosive warhead and delay action fuzing system.
The missile is guided by two laser beams (gathering beam and riding beam) projected into a 2-D matrix by the aiming unit. The three darts fly in a formation approximately 1.5 metre in radius and have enough kinetic energy to penetrate and destroy a target on impact. However, each dart also contains enough high explosive to cause the dart to break up into small fragments, which is intended to equate to enhanced lethality.
Saab"s RBS 70 NG uses command line-of-sight (CLOS) guidance with laser beam-riding interceptors. The baseline system, which comprises a launch container with an interceptor, a tripod, and an NG sight, builds on the earlier RBS 70, but adds an advanced, integrated sighting system, along with either a third-generation Mk 2 (7 kilometre range) interceptor.
The RBS 70 NG is being pitched as a modular concept built around the new sight module; Saab sees requirements for vehicle integration and for remotely controlled systems.
Bolide is designed to provide a multi-target capability encompassing fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as well as light armoured vehicles and even maritime targets.
Its anti-armour capability is enabled by a shaped-charge warhead, which incorporates more than 3,000 tungsten spheres - a design approach that was first employed in response to the requirement to defeat armoured attack helicopters such as the Russian-made Mi-24/35 Hind - as well as the ability to disengage the proximity fuze.
Stinger (FIM-92) was originally developed by the US defence company General Dynamics to provide high accuracy and enhanced air defence capabilities to the armed forces. Raytheon Missile Systems is now the primary manufacturer of the Stinger. Developed in the United States this weapon system entered service in 1981 and is now used by the United States and by 29 other countries. It has been produced under license by EADS in Germany and by Roketsan in Turkey with 70,000 missiles produced.
The shoulder-fired, fire-and-forget Stinger SAM system employs rolling airframe canard control concept. It is controlled by two operators and can operate under all weather conditions.
The front section of the missile is equipped with a two-colour rosette scanning seeker with infrared (IR) / ultraviolet (UV) detectors to acquire the targets. The IR detector is used to sense the hot exhaust gases, while the UV detector is used to track radiation.
The information acquired by the seeker is sent to the passive, highly accurate homing guidance and control system. The missile is guided by proportional navigation.
The KB Mashinostroyeniya or KBM enterprise has developed several follow-on products to the iconic SA-7 Strella. One of the most widespread Russian-sourced Manpads is the 9K38 Igla or "Needle". Its US NATO designation is SA-18 and its NATO reporting name is Grouse. A simplified, earlier version is known as the 9K310 Igla-1, or SA-16 Gimlet.
The technology used in manpads has advanced dramatically since the SA-7 Strella made its appearance some 50 years ago. The appearance of low cost unmanned aerial vehicles has given increased impetus to the fielding of improved manpads. With battlefield aerial threats multiplying, there is increasing interest in fielding new and more effective manpads, that can engage targets with lower heat signatures and which fly at very slow speeds.
The designers and manufacturers of manpads are continuing to work on ensuring their products meet the needs of 21st Century operators.
 
 
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