The Army is moving ahead on its effort to replace its Stinger missile systems, detailing plans to begin developing and testing new capabilities next fiscal year before beginning production of 10,000 missiles in fiscal year 2027.

The effort to find a new surface-to-air missile has been dubbed the “Maneuver Short Range Air Defense Inc. 3, according to a Request for Information (RFI) notice published on March 28, with the Army interested in weapon systems capable of conducting technology demonstrations in FY ‘24 and live fire engagements in FY ‘26.

Sgt. Zane Pettibone and Spc. Svenson Albert, a Stinger Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) team with 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, prepare to fire, as part of the multinational live-fire training exercise Shabla 19, June 11, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Thomas Mort)

“The system must be capable of defeating rotary wing aircraft, Group 2-3 Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Fixed Wing ground attack aircraft with capabilities equal to or greater than the current Stinger missile (with Proximity Fuse capability),” the Army wrote in the RFI. “The system must provide improved target acquisition with increased lethality and ranges over current capability.”

Army officials in the RFI detailed the need for a replacement system “to meet increasing demand and growing threat capability,” noting the Stinger-Reprogrammable Microprocessor will become obsolete in FY ‘23 and that the “current Stinger inventory is in decline.”

The M-SHORAD Inc. 3 effort follows a previous RFI released in November 2020 which solicited industry’s potential solutions for a replacement to the current Raytheon Technologies [RTX]-built Stinger missile (Defense Daily, Nov. 12, 2020). 

The earlier RFI indicated the Army could plan to award a contract by fiscal year 2026 to procure 8,000 systems, while no additional details were released on that effort.

House Armed Services Committee leadership recently urged the Pentagon to establish a plan for replenishing the department’s stockpile of Stinger missiles that’ve been transferred to Ukraine and called for prioritizing getting a modernized SHORAD system in place that could begin to be delivered within 36 months to help replenish the stockpile (Defense Daily, March 18). 

For potential M-SHORAD Inc. 3 solutions, the Army said any offering must be capable of integration with the Stinger Vehicle Universal Launcher, must be a soldier-portable all-up round and “must be capable and suitable for maneuver force operations in all battlefield environments.”

Doug Bush, the Army’s top acquisition official, said recently the service will soon brief Congress on its plans for replenishing both its Stinger and Javelin stockpiles (Defense Daily, March 25).