Man-Portable Air-Defence Systems

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Man-Portable Air-Defence Systems

  • The United States has approved a $200-million arms package for Ukraine, which would include US made Stinger Missiles, which are a type of shoulder-fired Man-Portable Air-Defence Systems (MANPADS).

What are MANPADS?

  • Man-Portable Air-Defence Systems are short-range, lightweight and portable surface-to-air missiles that can be fired by individuals or small groups to destroy aircraft or helicopters.
  • They help shield troops from aerial attacks and are most effective in targeting low-flying aircrafts.
  • MANPATs or Man-Portable Anti-Tank Systems work in a similar manner but are used to destroy or incapacitate military tanks.

Uniqueness of MANPADS

  • MANPADS can be shoulder-fired, launched from atop a ground-vehicle, fired from a tripod or stand, and from a helicopter or boat.
  • They weigh anywhere between 10 to 20 kilograms and not being longer than 1.8 metres.
  • They are fairly lightweight as compared to other elaborate weapon systems, making them easy to operate by individual soldiers.
  • Operating MANPADS requires substantially less training.
  • MANPADS have a maximum range of 8 kilometres and can engage targets at altitudes of 4.5 km.


  • They have passive or ‘fire and forget’ guidance systems, meaning that the operator is not required to guide the missile to its target, enabling them to run and relocate immediately after firing.
  • The missile stays locked-on to the targeted object, not requiring active guidance from the soldier.
  • The missiles are fitted with infrared (IR) seekers that identify and target the airborne vehicle through heat radiation being emitted by the latter.