Italy Tasks MBDA With Studying Stinger Air Defense System Replacement

The Italian defense ministry has tasked MBDA with exploring a replacement for the FIM-92 Stinger man-portable air defense system.

The upgrade is expected to have greater range and counter-countermeasures abilities than the Raytheon Stinger, ERDA Magazine reported, citing MBDA Italia managing director Lorenzo Mariani.

The national project includes Leonardo and Avio, providing a seeker and propulsion system, respectively. 

Development Contract Expected by Year-End

“MBDA Italia has been awarded a preliminary study to establish a program and launch a development phase that will leverage technology blocks already available within the company,” Mariani said. 

MBDA expects to be awarded a development contract by late 2023, paving the way for “qualification activities by the end 2025-beginning 2026.”

The missile will be developed in both man-portable and vehicle-launched configurations.

Larger Air Defense Upgrade

The project is part of a larger planned upgrade of Italian air defense systems based on lessons learned from the Russia-Ukraine war.

“We need to proceed with enhancing in a coherent and integrated way ground-based air defense capabilities under an overall multi-layer architecture,” Italian Army Chief of Staff Lt.Gen. Pietro Serino said.

“It will include the new medium-range SAMP/T NG, being developed jointly by Italy and France, the new (Grifo) SHORAD system based on joint Italy and UK’s CAMM-ER missile, while enhancing VSHORAD capabilities against fixed, rotary-wing assets as well as artillery, rockets and mini and micro-drones. This is all managed by an integrated command and control system.”

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