The U.S. Army and Marine Corps recently fielded the Avenger anti-aircraft system, which can launch 8 heat-seeking Stinger missiles or 2.75" Hydra-70 rockets from a turret mounted on a HMMWV. The turret also has a .50 caliber HMG. Since American troops almost always operate with complete air superiority, these expensive systems may never be used. However, the Avengers could support ground combat operations. First, these questions must be answered:
1. If the Avenger can engage aircraft at 3.5 miles, at what range can their Stingers lock-on to the heat produced by an armored vehicle?
2. What damage can the impact of a 22 lbs supersonic Stinger with a 6 lbs HE warhead cause on an armored vehicle?
3. Would it be worthwhile to procure an anti-armor Stinger with a shaped charge? These may also prove useful against armored helicopters.
4. Will inexpensive Hydra 70mm unguided rockets be procured for the Avengers to enhance rear area security? They have already been successfully fired from the Stinger pods.
5. Can 20mm Gatling cannon be fitted instead of .50 cal HMGs as was originally planned for the Avenger? These cannon are to be used on the RAH-66 Comanche Stealth helicopters and are available from unused M163 mounted and towed Vulcan ADA systems. A powerful cannon coupled with Stinger/Hydra-70 rockets increases the Avenger's utility against both ground and air targets.
Avengers are very expensive and should not be hastily thrown into ground combat. However, if American forces have complete air superiority, Stingers should be employed in an anti-armor role. If an enemy reconnaissance vehicle approaches and is viewing a rifle company at two miles, no organic weapons can effectively engage him. However, if an infantryman trained to fire Stingers can lock onto the vehicle with a shoulder-fired Stinger, he should take a shot.
As my third MOS was an Avenger Gunner, very interesting post.
I honestly dont know if an armored vehicles engine produces enough heat for the Stinger to effectivly engage it. The IR detector cell is super cooled to -270 degrees to make it sensitive to the IR source. But once again I dont know if a land vehicle puts out enough heat when compared to a jet engine.
The NUV detector cell would be all but useless on a land target, way to much interference.(buildings, trees, mountains etc)
The Stinger also has a minimum range of 300 meteres to arm itself and begin tracking, so its useless in very close range engagements.
My old unit is currently in Iraq pulling security duty. They are patroling in totally unarmored Avengers, with 8 all but useless Stingers, and a .50 cal with 150 rounds. The Avengers most usefull asset to ground forces is its forward looking infrared (FLIR).
Im sure those guys would appreciate some Hydras in the tubes.
Again, interesting post.