[TK] [Teaser:] [TK] Summary [TK]

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[Teaser:] [TK]




[We need to summarize and underscore the importance of this subject up here, high in the piece. the best way to do that is lead with a blow-by-blow account of the first successful use of the weapon against civilian aircraft. SEE NOTE on page 4.]

Man Portable Air Defense Systems, or MANPADS, are shoulder-fired, surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles that come in a variety of models. They are a simple and effective weapon that can be fired by a single person at all manner of aircraft -- civilian and military alike.

MANPADS were developed after the end of World War II, when U.S. military planners realized the need for a weapon that could provide better defense against attacks by aircraft flying at high speeds low to the ground. Machine guns simply did not have the effective range, accuracy or [knockdown power?] to take out these threats. In 1948, the U.S. Army began researching and developing a weapon that could be more effectively used by infantrymen against aircraft, but it was not until 1967 that the first shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile was fielded.

This was the U.S.-manufactured FIM-43 Redeye tactical missile. The Soviets soon followed with their SA-7 Grail (Strela-2) missiles, introduced in 1968. In 1972, the ensuing U.S.-manufactured Redeye II gave rise to the FIM-92 Stinger missile, which, like the Soviet SA-7s, has been improved many times over the years. The British introduced their Blowpipe MANPAD in 1972. In the years since, many more versions of the weapon have been developed by other countries.

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