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Describe the tactical equipment used with the Stinger weapon system and procedures used to handle and fire the weapon.


Given information about all tactical equipment used with the Stinger weapon system, the handling procedures for the Stinger weapon system, and the procedures for readying the Stinger weapon for firing.


Demonstrate competency of skill and knowledge by responding to the multiple-choice test covering procedures for handling and firing the Stinger weapon.

Learning Event 1: GENERAL

Stinger is a man-portable, shoulder-fired, infrared homing (heat-seeking) guided missile system. Stinger provides air defense to combat arms battalions and selected combat support units. Stinger is designed to counter high-speed, low-level, ground attack aircraft. Also, it is lethal weapon against helicopter, observation, and transport aircraft (Figure 1).


The Army has accepted delivery of the first Stinger air defense weapon to come off the manufacturer's pilot production line. The Stinger will give the US Army and Marines immediate air defense against low-level aircraft attacking from any direction. The Stinger has improved range and maneuverability, is resistant to countermeasures, and has a device to assist the gunner in identification of aircraft. Initial units will be tested at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, by the Army Missile Command.


Stinger will provide combat/combat support units with their own capability to destroy hostile aircraft attacking at low altitudes. It is an infrared homing guided missile system capable of engaging a wide variety of aerial targets,including jets and propeller-driven aircraft, helicopters, and remotely piloted vehicles.


Stinger will normally be employed to provide low-altitude air defense for company-size units operating on or near the forward line of troops (FLOT). It can be employed to provide or supplement the air defense for missile sites and other critical assets. Stinger will also be useful in the early tactical phases of airmobile or airborne operations.


Stinger weapon system will provide the following advantages over Redeye (Figure 2).


The Stinger weapon-round is made up of a missile-round (A) mated to a separable gripstock assembly (B). A battery/coolant unit (BCU) (C) is also required to fire the missile. You must have all three items to have an operational weapon. The weapon is 60 inches long and, with BCU inserted, weighs 34.7 pounds. When the identification, friend or foe (IFF), interrogator is used with the weapon, it helps identify friendly aircraft. To have this capability, you must connect the interrogator to the weapon, with its interconnecting cable (Figure 3).


The Stinger missile is a rocket-propelled, heat-seeking missile. The missile is housed in the launch tube. Major components that make up the missile are shown in Figure 4.

Guidance Section

The guidance section consists of a guidance assembly, control assembly, a missile battery, and four control surfaces. The guidance assembly processes target infrared (IR) energy and provides guidance commands for the missile during flight. The seeker tracks the IR source automatically after the gyro is uncaged and during missile flight. The control assembly converts the guidance commands into movement of control surfaces which direct the flight of the missile. The missile battery provides the inflight power for the Stinger guided missile.

Warhead Section

The warhead section consists of a fuze assembly and a quantity of explosives, all within a cylindrical case. After the flight motor ignites, the fuze arms the warhead. The fuze can detonate the warhead in two ways: by means of a target impact switch or by a hard target sensor. Should target intercept not occur within 15-19 seconds after launch, a self-destruct circuit initiates warhead detonation. Safety features are included to ensure that the missile is safe for shipping and handling.

Propulsion Section

Propulsion for the missile is developed by a separable launch motor and a dual thrust flight motor. The launch (eject) motor provides initial thrust that ejects the missile from the launch tube. It allows the missile to coast a safe distance (about 9 meters/29 feet) from the gunner prior to ignition of the flight motor. The launch motor is expended and separated from the flight motor before the missile is out of the launch tube. The expended launch motor drops from the missile outside the launch tube at a safe distance from the gunner. Also, at separation, a lanyard attached to the launch motor pulls the shorting plug from the flight motor ignition circuit.

The flight motor provides propulsion for the missile during the flight. The flight motor fires after the missile coasts for a safe distance from the gunner. Thrust for the flight motor is provided in two phases: boost and sustain. Initially, both burn simultaneously. The boost phase rapidly accelerates the missile to its top speed. The boost phase ends, but the sustain phase continues. The sustain phase maintains the missile speed for a time sufficient to complete the mission.

Tail Assembly

The tail assembly consists of four holding tail fins that provide roll and missile stability. Within the launch tube, the fins are in a folded position. As the missile leaves the launch tube, they are ejected by spring action and by the force generated by missile spin, and then locked into place.


The fiberglass tube is the main support for all other parts of the launcher. Both ends of the launch tube are sealed with breakable disks. The IR window (front disk) is transparent to IR radiation. Both the IR window and the blowout disk (rear) break when the missile is fired. A desiccant cartridge/humidity indicator on the launch tube indicates whether moisture has entered the tube. The sight assembly is attached to the launch tube with two hinges (Figure 5).


The sight which is used for aiming the weapon and visually tracking the target, has apertures for insertion of lead and superelevation. Two acquisition indicators are mounted on the sight assembly. One is a small speaker and the other is a small unit which vibrates against the cheekbone. These indicators provide an IFF tone response and an IR tone. These indicators allow you to both hear and feel the IFF tone and IR acquisition signal. Also attached to the sight is a clear plastic eye shield to protect the gunner's left eye when the weapon is fired (Figure 6). The open sight of the Stinger weapon consists of a front sight with range ring, a sighting aperture with three open reticles, and a rear peepsight. The range is used by the gunner to determine if the aircraft is in range and also to visually track it. The rear sight ring provides for insertion of superelevation and lead. Superelevation is an additional elevation angle which corrects for the effects of gravity on the missile. Lead is applied to assist the missile on its flight path to the target. Lead is applied to all targets except directly incoming or outgoing fixed-wing aircraft. The peepsight is located at the rear of the sight and is used by the gunner to properly align the other elements of the sight.


The gripstock contains all the necessary circuits and assemblies that allow the gunner to prepare and launch the missile. The gripstock is attached to and removed from the launch tube by means of a latch. Located on the gripstock assembly are the safety and actuator device, uncaging switch, firing trigger, IFF challenge switch, IFF interrogator connector, and BCU receptacle (Figure 7).


The antenna assembly folds on the right side of the gripstock when not in use. When it is unfolded and the interrogator is connected to the weapon, it is capable of interrogating aircraft and receiving coded replies. After a missile is fired, the separable gripstock is removed from the launch tube assembly for reuse. The separable gripstock assembly can be reused until failure (Figure 7).


A BCU is used to energize the weapon's electrical circuits and to cool the IR detector in the missile seeker prior to launch. The BCU contains a battery and pressurized argon gas coolant. The BCU is activated when the safety and actuator device on the gripstock is pressed forward. Once activated, the BCU supplies electrical power and seeker coolant to the weapon for at least 45 seconds or until missile launch. The BCU is not reusable after it is activated. Three BCUs are supplied with each weapon-round and missile-round (Figure 8).


Do not discard the used BCU into dry brush, grass, or near flammable material as it is extremely hot. Handle the BCU only by the plastic cap.


The IFF interrogator is a battery-powered unit that is attached to your belt. It contains IFF system electronics. The interrogator is connected to the weapon by a quick- release, plug-in cable. When not in use, the IFF interrogator, with its cable attached, is stored in the interrogator shipping and storage container. The interrogator weighs about 6 pounds and is programmed with an interrogation code. It can be programmed to operate in mode 4 secure code for four days. Within four days, a new or recharged battery must be installed and the unit reprogrammed. Unless it is reprogrammed, the system automatically shifts from mode 4 to mode 3. It remains in this mode of operation until the batteries are discharged or the system is reprogrammed. Arrangements for IFF battery replacement and reprogramming (such as date, time, and location) are made by the section chief and are based on the tactical situation (Figure 9).


Programmer/Battery Charger

The purpose of the programmer/battery charger is to program the IFF interrogator with 4 codes and to charge the battery. This equipment is located at the section headquarters. The code input computer and code keys are required to program the mode 4 codes into the interrogator. The keys are used to insert the proper code into the computer. The computer inserts the data into the interrogator through the programmer. The battery charger will charge from one to six batteries. Operating instructions are found in TM 9-1425-429-12 (Figure 10).

Weapon-Round Shipping and Storage Container (WRC)

This container is an aluminum box which provides environmental protection for one weapon-round and three BCUs during shipping and storage. It also contains one set of ear plugs. It is equipped with four latches, handles for two- man carry, a pressure relief valve, humidity indicator, and BCU storage area. Four of these containers, with weapons, are issued to each team as part of its basic load. The containers and gripstocks will be reused with missile-rounds once the weapon-round is expended (Figure 11).

Ready Rack Configuration

A container is converted to a ready rack by releasing the latches which make the weapon-round, with BCU inserted, readily accessible. When used as a ready rack, the closed container provides limited environmental protection for the weapon-round with BCU installed. The ready rack setup helps provide the capability for a gunner to open the container and remove and shoulder the weapon within 10 seconds.

Missile-Round Shipping and Storage Containers (MRC)

This container is a wooden box which provides adequate protection for one missile-round and three BCUs during shipping and storage. It also contains one set of ear plugs. The missile-round and three BCUs are wrapped in a sealed barrier bag with desiccant for protection against the environment. A humidity indicator is enclosed in the bag to indicate moisture content. The sides of the box are wire bound. Two of these boxes containing missile-round are issued to each team as the remaining part of their basic load. As rounds are expended, the gunner simply opens an MRC, removes the missile-round, mates the gripstock of the expended round to the new missile-round, and inserts a BCU. He then has a complete weapon-round to use if needed. Empty MRCs are kept to maintain the stability of the containers in the trailer until resupply. At this time, the empty containers are replaced with full containers (Figure 12).

IFF Interrogator Container

This reuseable fiberglass container stores the IFF interrogator, battery, and interconnecting cable. The container is not pressurized, but it does contain a pressure relief valve to release pressure build up within the container (Figure 13).

Transport Harness

The four weapon-round and two MRCs are secured within the M416 1/4-ton trailer by a nylon webbing assembly called a transport harness. A strap runs lengthwise over the center of the 1/4-ton cargo trailer and fastens to either end of the trailer by snap fasteners. From this strap, four other straps lead, two to each side, through quick-release buckles to the sides of the trailer. The quick-release buckles allow immediate access to the weapons. Another strap runs completely around the outside of the top three containers.

Alert Warning System-FAAR/TADDS

A Stinger crew may be warned of an approaching aircraft or it may visually detect the target without prior warning. Warning of the approach of an aircraft increases the chances of successfully engaging it. An alert warning will usually give the general location and heading of the aircraft and a tentative identification. The FAAR/TADDS system is the primary means of providing alerting information to the Stinger crews. This information is transmitted by radio frequency data link (RFDL) to TADDS receivers located with the Stinger crews.

FAAR System. The FAAR system is a complete, self-contained, highly mobile radar system. It provides early warning in the form of general target location in terms of distance and direction. It also provides identification in terms of friend or unknown for each target displayed. The RFDL system provides a data communications link from the FAAR to the TADDS at the Stinger positions. The FAAR has an additional capability of passing voice radio transmissions.

TADDS. The TADDS is a lightweight receiver which receives alert information sent from a FAAR. It must be emphasized that the TADDS is used exclusively as an FM receiver to receive early warning information from the FAAR. For the best reception, a site for the TADDS is selected which allows as close to a clear line of sight to the FAAR as possible. The key characteristic of a signal, when heard from the speaker, indicates that data link signals, not interference, are being received. Emplacement of the TADDS is quickly accomplished by one man. The operator performs the operational checks listed in TM 9-1430-589-12 to ensure proper operation.

Note: An explanation on the complete use of TADDS will be discussed later in this subcourse.


Practical Exercise



Upon receipt of a Stinger weapon from the ammunition supply point (ASP), it must be checked to be sure it is suitable for firing. The weapon is removed from the shipping and storage container and inspected in accordance with the "services upon receipt" checks which are found in TM 9-1425-429-12. However, Learning Event 3 does contain an abbreviated set of weapon checks which may be made under field conditions when time and tactical situation permit. In addition, Learning Event 3 describes weapon handling and safety precautions which must be followed by Stinger gunners to prevent injury to personnel and damage to equipment.

When the Stinger crew first receives a weapon, the markings on the container (case) should be checked to be sure that it contains the proper weapon. The yellow squares on two diagonally opposite corners on the case and the yellow data markings indicate it contains a live round. Containers for trainers are marked with blue colored squares for the tracking head trainer and bronze for the field handling trainer. In addition, the data markings are white, and these containers ehave the word "INERT" on the top of the case. Other Stinger equipment and trainer markings are found in TM 9-1425-429-12. The Stinger weapon-round and IFF interrogator containers are sealed to prevent environmental damage. Before the cases are opened, the pressure relief valve should be pressed with the finger. When the rushing noise (if any) stops, the internal pressure of the case is the same as the pressure outside the case. The MRC is not sealed (Figure 14).


Improper handling can cause misalignment or electrical/mechanical part damage.

Note: When out of its container, the weapon should be rested only on its left side (sight assembly). Do not stand the weapon on its end or lay it on its right side.


Do not fire if weapon/missile-round container has been dropped 5 feet or more.

Be sure that the missile-round has the proper color markings -four 1-inch yellow squares. If it does not, return it to the ASP and exchange it for another weapon.

While the gunner is walking, he should carry the weapon by placing the carrying sling over his shoulder. The front end should point upward or horizontally. The sling should be tight enough to prevent the weapon from swinging. The protective covers (front-end cap and IFF connector cap) should not be removed until preparing to fire or while inspecting the weapon.


If the Stinger weapon is issued in the field and sufficient time is not available to perform all the checks listed in the technical manual, the crew chief or gunner must, as a minimum, make the checks listed. Under the field conditions, these checks should be made on a daily basis if the tactical situation allows. They should be made at those times when the crew is in a reduced state of alert. These checks are especially important for those weapons which have been outside of their containers and exposed to bad weather.

Note: Although sunlight normally will not cause damage to the seeker, care should be taken to keep the uncovered seeker pointed away from the sun.

  3. IR WINDOW (front disk) and BLOWOUT DISK (rear).

Items to check (Figure 15)

BCU Receptacle Cap, BCU Receptacle, and BCU. Perform the following checks:

Note: Under tactical conditions when no other BCUs are available, you may use an otherwise defective BCU. Use only as a last resort.


Be sure that BCU is NOT inserted during this check.

IR Window (front disk) and Blowout Disk (rear) (Figure 17). Perform the following checks:

IR Window. Check the IR window (front disk) for foreign matter. Clean with lens cleaning tissue. Inspect for breakage or scratches.

Blowout Disk. Check blowout disk (rear) for foreign matter. Clean with lens cleaning tissue. Inspect for damage.

Sight Assembly (Figure 18). Perform the following checks:

Desiccant Cartridge/Humidity Indicator (Figure 19). Check desiccant cartridge/humidity indicator for green color. If tan, replace indicator unit.

Note: If replaced, check color again in 24 hours. If tan color appears again, replace weapon.

Acquisition Indicators (Figure 20). Check acquisition indicators for visible damage. If damaged, return weapon to ASP.

IFF Receptacle (Figure 21). Check IFF receptacle interior for foreign matter. Ensure contacts are clean. Then check the condition of the IFF connector cap. Replace if it is missing or damaged.

IFF Interrogator and IFF Interconnecting Cable (Figure 22). Perform the following checks:

IFF Antenna (Figure 23). Unfold IFF antenna and check for breakage or damage.


Firing Safety Precautions

The following safety precautions should be observed for all firings:

Do not fire at an angle greater than 65º. The flying debris caused by the missile backblast presents a hazard to the gunner if this angle is exceeded or if the launch tube is within 30 inches off the ground (Figure 25).

Always superelevate. By superelevating, you make use of the built-in 10 degree angle that compensates for missile drop in flight (Figure 26).

Battery/Coolant Unit (BCU) Insertion and Removal


Before inserting the BCU, make certain that the safety and actuator device is in the SAFE position. The Stinger weapon is shipped with a cap covering the BCU receptacle. The cap should be kept in place until just prior to BCU insertion. Remove the receptacle cap by turning it counter- clockwise. Place it in the BCU container found in the shipping or storage container for use at another time. You can also place the cap on some convenient location on the body (pocket, inside shirt, et cetera). Insert a BCU into the receptacle and turn it clockwise until it locks in place.


The case of the BCU gets extremely hot (400oF) 3 minutes after activation and remains too hot to touch for approximately 30 minutes. Do not touch the case except at the heat-insulated cap of a newly fired BCU when removing it from the BCU receptacle. Remove the BCU immediately after firing (or within 45 seconds after activation) by grasping the heat-insulated cap and turning it counterclockwise. After use, it must be discarded. Replace the expended BCU with an unused BCU as explained above.


Do not discard the used BCU into dry brush or grass, or near flammable materials.

Conversion of Container to a Ready Rack

The gunner converts a container to a ready rack by using the following procedures (FIGURE 27):



Prior to engaging targets, the Stinger weapon must be readied for action. As a starting point, assume that the Stinger crew is on site with its basic load of weapons. Two of the weapons have BCUs inserted and these weapons are in the container/ready racks on the trailer. The IFF interrogator is on the equipment belt with the interconnecting cable attached to it. The gunner readies the weapon for firing by performing the following steps:


When the target is visually detected, the gunner points the launcher toward the target. He sights over the sight assembly and then looks into the peep sight. Next, he positions the target image into the center of the range ring. He challenges the aircraft if it has not been positively identified as friendly.

Note: Depending upon the IFF response and the rules of engagement, the gunner either disengages or proceeds to engage the target.


The gunner initially tracks the target by keeping it in the upper range ring circle. The gunner's stance and aiming at the target help him to determine the aircraft's direction of flight. The stance requires that the gunner step directly toward the aircraft with his left foot and lean into the weapon. He then applies the technique of fire applicable to the type of aircraft being engaged. Target tracking occurs prior to weapon activation and continues throughout the firing engagement (Figure 38).


Press the safety and actuator device forward and down until you hear it click (Figure 39).

Weapon warmup occurs within a period of 3 to 5 seconds during which certain components are brought on to the mechanical and electrical condition required for system operation.

The gunner should hear the gyro spinup noise which indicates the system is becoming operational.


When the target provides sufficient IR radiation to the seeker, acquisition signals will be generated. These signals indicate that the seeker has acquired the target. Two conditions are required for the missile seeker to acquire the target IR radiation: The weapon must be activated and pointed at the target; and the IR radiation from the target must be strong enough to activate the acquisition indicator circuits.

Listen for a distinct acquisition tone. If you aim away from the target when the gyro is caged, the tone will increase or decrease.


After ensuring that the seeker has acquired the aircraft, the gunner presses the uncaging switch with his left thumb, holds it in, and continues to track the aircraft. After he uncages, the IR tone usually gets steadier and louder. This lets the gunner know that the seeker has locked onto the aircraft and is tracking it. If the tone is lost upon caging, the gunner releases the uncaging switch and continues to track the aircraft in the range ring until he has acquired the tone. He again presses the uncaging switch (Figure 40).

Note: The target must be positively identified as hostile prior to firing.

If IR cannot be obtained, the seeker may be locking on the background instead of the target. The sun is an extremely strong source of IR radiation and the seeker may lock on it instead of the target. The sun's IR radiation is also reflected from objects, causing these objects to become secondary sources of background radiation. When the target is approaching through clouds, haze, close to the ground, or is between the gunner and the sun, background lock may occur. When the gunner cannot acquire the target because of the background radiation, one of the following methods should be used:

Sweeping the Target Method

When the target is low on the horizon, sweep the target. Gently swing the weapon in small movements until the IR tone gets stronger. A clear tone should be received when the aircraft enters the range ring on the sweep (Figure 41).

Figure 8 Method

When the target is above the horizon, use the Figure 8 method. Move the weapon, using the target as a starting point, and make two loops as in a figure 8. If you still cannot acquire the target, keep sighting on the target and wait until IR tone gets stronger (Figure 42).


The gunner inserts superelevation and lead.


Superelevation is the elevation angle added to the missile line of sight. The angle compensates for effects of gravity on the missile prior to flight motor ignition. To superelevate, you raise the front of the weapon (A) (Figure 43).


Lead is the angle between the point of aim and the moving target. Lead is required for all targets, except those fixed-wing targets directly incoming or outgoing. Move the aircraft from the range ring (B) where you've been tracking it to either the left (C), center (D), or right lower (E) reticles (Figures 44 and 45).


Before pressing the firing trigger, make sure that you still hear the tone.

Still holding UNCAGING switch (1), squeeze and hold firing trigger (2) (Figure 46).

Continue tracking target until weapon fires and the missile is launched. Release trigger and UNCAGING switch 3 seconds after launch (Figure 47).


When firing, HOLD your BREATH until you release the trigger to avoid inhaling toxic fumes.



The BCU is extremely hot when activated. Grasp it only by heat-insulated cap when you remove it.

Post firing procedures include the following (Figure 48):


A hangfire is a delay in the functioning of a weapon-round. It can last up to several minutes. A misfire is a complete failure to fire. If a missile does not fire, the following steps should be taken:


To remove the BCU, grasp it only by the heat-insulated cap. Do not point the top of the BCU toward the skin, as high pressure gas may still be escaping. Do not handle the used BCU for 2 hours after it has been removed.

A dud is a missile whose flight motor does not ignite. It is ejected from the launch tube assembly, travels a short distance, then falls to the ground. In these cases, mark the location and then call the EOD. Remember, the missile is classified and should not be left alone.


For a hangfire, misfire, or dud missile, personnel should evacuate the area around the missile for a distance of not less than 1,200 feet. The missile should not be approached for at least 3 hours.


Practical Exercise

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Lesson 2