When Russia invaded Ukraine in late February 2022, outnumbered Ukrainian defenders on the ground were vulnerable to attack from Russian helicopters, which also had the ability to transport Russian troops rapidly around the beleaguered smaller country.
That's why the U.S. and its NATO ally Germany decided to give the Ukrainians a potent weapon that might help even the odds — the Stinger antiaircraft missile. One reason the Stinger is so effective is that it's highly portable, and can be launched by a soldier — or trained civilian — who holds it on their shoulder. Stingers also are used on the U.S. Army's AH-64 Apache combat helicopter as an air-to-air weapon.
And they can be mounted on ground vehicles as well. The Stinger missile is 1.52 m long and 70 mm in diameter. It has 100 mm fins. It weighs 10.1 kg but weighs 15.2 kg with its launch tube and integral sight. It is used for engaging low altitude threats at up to 3,800 m and has a targeting range of up to 4,800 m.
It has a maximum speed of Mach 2.54 (750 m/s). Once it is fired the warhead that has a self-destruct timer explodes 17 seconds later. The US and NATO have not disclosed how many MANPADS have been transferred to Ukraine since the start of the invasion, which is now in its third week.