Air Defense: Verba Rivals Stinger

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June 26, 2014: Russia recently announced that some troops had begun receiving the new Verba shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles. This missile had been mentioned for several years, as a replacement for the Igla-S models. Also known as the SA-24, this one is a post-Cold War upgrade of a design that was introduced the same time as the American Stinger (early 1980s). Igla-S entered service in 2004, weighs 19 kg (42 pounds) and fires an 11.7 kg (26 pound) missile for up to 6,000 meters.

No exact specifications on the Verba have been released yet but they are probably somewhere between Igla-S and the Stinger. Verba is said to have about 20 percent greater range, speed and altitude as well as a 20 percent heavier warhead. The heat sensor is more effective as is the ability to defeat countermeasures.

In contrast the 14.3 kg American Stinger fires its 10.1 kg missile out to 8,000 meters but both systems have similar resistance to countermeasures and a warhead of about the same size (2-3 kg/4.4-6.6 pounds). The Igla-S in the hands of terrorists could bring down helicopters and airliners taking off but was designed for battlefield use against helicopters and other low flying aircraft.

Along with Verba comes a new control system for short range anti-aircraft systems. The Russian press release describes the new command and control system as unrivaled. That said, the U.S. has had such systems since the 1960s but the Russians don’t make any comparisons.

 

 


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