On June 28, 2018, an online edition Georgia and World released an article titled “Stingerization of Javelined Georgia,” where the author touches upon the statement made by Defense Minister-nominee, Levan Izoria at a joint committee hearing in the Parliament. Izoria said that following the Javelin anti-tank missiles, Georgia will receive modern Stinger air missiles from the United States. The author doubts that Javelins and Stingers are ultramodern equipment and calls them obsolete. He also claims that it costs the United States much to upgrade or destroy its military equipment and therefore it finds a simple solution by selling useless weapons to Georgia.
The allegations that Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger air-defense missiles are obsolete and useless are absolutely groundless. The United States is actively using Stingers and Javelins in both military operations and exercises. Moreover, it periodically upgrades its military equipment spending a lot of money on it.
Fact No. 1: Decreasing popularity of Stingers over the past 15 years can be explained by certain changes to the U.S. military tactics rather than the fact that Stingers are “useless or obsolete.” In 2018, the U.S. Army intensified Stinger air missile training as part of new strategic initiatives.
This is confirmed by the information posted on the official website of the U.S. Army, according to which 7th Army Training Command's Joint Multinational Readiness Center will soon begin observing, coaching and training soldiers using the FIM-92 Stinger Man-Portable, Air Defense Missile System during future exercises. In preparation for this, approximately 50 Observer Coach/Trainers, known as OC/Ts, attended their own training on the Stinger system at the Hohenfels Training Area, Jan. 10.
Lt. Col. Aaron Felter, the director of training and doctrine for the Air Defense Integrated Office, says that Stinger is one of the U.S. Army’s main focal points. Felter also notes that the goal is to get 62 Stinger teams into the operational force as soon as possible.
Photo: The National Interest
Although, the U.S. Army first used FIM-92 Stinger in 1981 against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, it gives us no ground either to claim that the equipment purchased by Georgia from the United States is not ultramodern or to call it obsolete. Stinger air-defense system has passed through many phases of development. It was upgraded from FIM-92A to FIM-92-K that helped improve Stinger’s resistance to countermeasures and interference, proximity fusing mode, capability against novel threats, namely that of small Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) as well as extend its service life. Almost all NATO member states and U.S. allies are using new models of Stinger.
Fact No. 2. Stingers and Javelins are not stored uselessly in the U.S. warehouses
According to the photo posted on the official website of the U.S. Department of Defense, Stinger air-defense system was actively used by U.S. marines during exercise Arctic Edge 2018 at Fort Greely, Alaska, in March 2018.
The statements that Javelins are “stored uselessly” are also groundless, because the U.S. Army and Navy successfully used Javelins during the military operation in Iraq in 2003 and the comprehensive COIN campaign in Afghanistan aimed at defeating the Taliban.
Photo gallery on the website of the U.S. Department of Defense also confirms the significance of Javelins in modern military exercises.
Photo: Marines fire an FGM-148 Javelin missile during live-fire training as part of Platinum Lion, a training exercise at the Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, Dec. 15, 2016. The exercise brought together eight NATO allies and partner nations to strengthen security and regional defenses in Eastern Europe.
Photo: Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, February 24, 2016
Photo: U.S. Army Spc. Fernando Jimenez, right, engages a target with a Javelin shoulder fired anti-tank missile during a live-fire as part of Exercise Rock Sokol at Pocek Range in Postonja, Slovenia, March 9, 2016.
Fact No. 3: During fiscal year 2018, the United States will allocate funds for Stinger modification and Product Improvement Program research. In July 2017, Raytheon / Lockheed Martin JV was awarded a USD 10 million contract for Javelin upgrading.
The plans to invest in the Stinger Product Improvement Program were first unveiled in May 2017 at the Department of Defense news briefing on the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 Defense Budget for the Army. As a result, the Appropriations Act 2018 released by the U.S. Department of Defense involved a wording on allocating funds for Stinger product improvement program research. The United States does not either save money on upgrading Javelins, because in July 2017, Raytheon / Lockheed Martin JV was awarded a USD 10 million contract for upgrading the Javelin anti-tank missile system.
Prepared by Sopo Ekseulidze
Myth Detector Laboratory