US ‘hugely important’ delivery of Stinger missiles to Ukraine hailed ‘game-changer’

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British Foreign Correspondent Sara Firth is currently in Kyiv and has responded to reports from NBC news of the US delivery of several hundreds of FIM-92 Stinger units to Ukraine. Ms Firth tweeted: “If this delivery is confirmed it’s hugely important.”

She added: “The US had already approved the direct delivery of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine, and this will be critical to combat the indiscriminate air campaign Russia has already started carrying out across the country.”

According to NBC, two congressional officials who have been briefed on the stinger missile deliveries said that “the US has delivered hundreds of Stinger missiles to Ukraine this week, including more than 200 on Monday”.

The National Security Council and the Defence Department did not provide a comment. 

The stinger missiles are part of the $350 million aid package for Ukraine that was announced by Biden.

The aid package announced by the White House included lethal and non-lethal elements including Javelin anti-tank missiles and ammunition, which the Ukrainian Government declared it would need to fight off the Russians.

Stinger missiles have the ability to shoot down aircraft and have been used against Russia by the US government in the Cold war when they supplied stingers to resistance fighters in Afghanistan to target Russian helicopters. 

General Barry McCaffrey, a retired army officer and recipient of several purple heart awards, was interviewed by Hallie Jackson on NBC and said:

“It is very encouraging. I assume it’s being organised by the CIA because getting it out of Poland and into Ukraine may be easily possible, then distributing it to Ukrainian fighting units that are in contact is much tougher.

“But, that’s good news. The javelin anti-tank missile fire-and-forget, an hour to train a civilian on how to fire it, is devastating up to 3 kilometres.”

He added: “The stinger will bring down attack helicopters and any other Russian aircraft under 11,000 feet. So, this is good news.” 

It has also been announced that Germany will also be sending 500 Stinger missiles to Ukraine.

Fire-and-forget capabilities means both the Stinger rockets and the Javelin anti-tank missile do not require guidance after the launch has been established such as illumination of the target or wire guidance.

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The Stinger missiles use an infrared sensor to locate an aircraft by its heat and the 1.5 metre-long missile travels at double the speed of sound and hits its target with fragmentation explosives.

The Javelin missile also uses automatic infrared guidance and was hailed by Ukrainian troops during their training last month as a “game-changer”.

They added: “It means we can fight the Russians and it doesn’t matter how many of them there are now that we have a way of stopping their armour.

“The Russians cannot scare us with numbers anymore.”

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