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.”