US to send Avenger air defense systems to Ukraine – what are technical capabilities of this weapon? – Technology Org

A highly mobile Avenger air defense system is equipped with 2 launchers each containing up to 4 FIM-92 Stinger missiles, or 8 missiles in total.

The Avengers air defense system.

The Avengers air defense system. Image credit: 玄史生 via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

The US Department of Defense announced a new military aid package for Ukraine today. The total assistance is valued at up to $400 million and is aimed to provide critically needed security and defense support.

The package mostly includes ammunition supplies and additional missiles for HAWK and HIMARS. However, the US will also provide 100 high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs, or Humvees) and four Avenger air defense systems.

The official designation of the Avenger platform is AN/TWQ-1. The main configuration uses a modified heavy Humvee armored vehicle to carry two Stinger missile launcher pods. These ‘fire-and-forget’ missiles use infrared/ultraviolet guidance and can be launched in rapid succession.

Stinger missile is launched from the Avenger platform.

Stinger missile is launched from the Avenger platform. Image credit: US Marines, Public Domain

This system is manufactured by Boeing. It entered service with the US Army in 1989 and is used today due to its high efficiency.

Most likely, Ukraine will receive a standard modification of the system. There are, however, two additional versions of the Avenger.

The Slew-to-Cue (STC) version uses a special targeting console allowing the gunner to select a target for engagement using a display. After target selection, the turret automatically pointed toward the target.

The third modification, the Up-Gun Avenger, additionally provides ground-based defense capabilities. In this version, one of the missile pods is removed and the FN M3P 12.7 mm (.50) caliber machine gun is installed in its place.

The installed machine gun uses an electronic trigger and can be fired manually from the operator’s station, or remotely from the driver’s cabin.

The Avengers air defense system.

The Avengers air defense system. Image credit: US Army, Public Domain

The Avenger also uses the Forward Looking Infrared Receiver (FLIR) sensor, laser rangefinder, and optical sight.

The system’s targeting capabilities allow for achieving a direct target hit while moving at 32 km/h (20 mph). It is quite interesting to note that during the initial tests in May 1984, all performed shots were classified as ‘tactical kill’ – and all these shots were performed by operators who had never fired this type of missile before.

The Avenger can reach a maximum speed of 89 km/h (55 mph). Its operational range is 443 km (275 miles). It can be used to provide short-range air defense against cruise missiles, UAVs, low-flying aircraft and helicopters. The effective firing range of Stinger missiles is 0.2-5 km (0.12-3.11 miles).

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