Currently, the American company Raytheon, in desperation, is actively gathering its retired engineers, who at one time were engaged in the development, improvement and production of FIM-92 Stinger man-portable anti-aircraft missile systems and missiles for them. These MANPADS and their missiles are not just an element of the air defense system of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but are considered a decisive link in the struggle of Ukraine against Russia. This was reported on July 1 by the American edition of Newsweek, giving details of what is happening and the opinions of experts.
The publication notes that the United States has supplied Ukraine with about 2 heat-seeking MANPADS manufactured by Raytheon, which have proven their effectiveness. At the same time, the Joe Biden administration recently announced that it wants to send even more to Kyiv.
FIM-92 Stinger helps counter enemy aircraft. Since 1978, this MANPADS has been repeatedly upgraded. But the use of 3D printing and automation in the production of new FIM-92 Stinger samples is not possible, because this would mean redesigning the weapon and a lengthy certification process. Therefore, experienced "handy" professionals are needed who would pass on their skills to the younger generation of technicians.
You would have to redesign the entire seeker to automate it
Wes Kremer, head of Raytheon Technologies Corporation's integrated air and missile defense division, told Defense One.
Therefore, weapons should be made the same as they were four decades ago - without any "innovations".
We're bringing back retirees over 70. We're hauling test equipment out of warehouses and removing the cobwebs
- stressed Kremer, specifying that the workers used drawings (design documentation) of many years ago, i.е. before digitization.
Raytheon has also redesigned some of the weapon's components because the electronics used in the SAM are outdated. In this regard, Newsweek made a request to Raytheon for additional comments.
In turn, military forecaster, analyst and expert Allan Orr told Newsweek that the United States does not yet have an available FIM-92 Stinger for Ukraine. Moreover, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are running out of missiles for these MANPADS.
"Stingers" are almost over, Russia now knows it
He explained that since the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are aware of this issue, they brought down the full power of their Aerospace Forces on the Ukrainian army. Left without air defense and air cover on the front line, the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine found themselves sandwiched between Russian aviation, artillery fire and a huge number of minefields. Therefore, the Armed Forces of Ukraine often cannot even approach the positions of the RF Armed Forces in order to engage in close combat.
Without the Stingers, they are even worse, and they are easy prey for Russian attack helicopters operating at a distance
– gave the details of the expert.
Orr also noted that the Stingers did not play a decisive role in the beginning of the Russian SVO, then ATGMs - Javelins - were more important.
But now they undoubtedly play a key role in the offensive. Stingers are how the Ukrainians can control the airspace, and we are right now seeing the results of the ceding of the sky along the entire front to the Russians