Overview of MANPADS
Created on October 31, 2012
MANPADS (Man-Portable Air Defense Systems) are surface-to-air missiles that are lightweight enough to be operated by a single person. The system consists of a missile inside a disposable tube, a gripstock, and a battery to charge the missile.
Length: Launch tubes are generally four to 6.5 feet long
Weight: 28 to 55 pounds with launcher
Range: Can strike airplanes up to an altitude of 15,000 feet at a range of about 3.2 miles
Maximum speed: Mach 2
Infrared: Missiles hone in on an aircraft’s heat signature, namely the exhaust
Command line-of-sight: Operator controls missile via remote
Laser targeting: Missile follows aimed laser beam to spot on aircraft
Source: U.S. Department of State, “MANPADS: Combating the Threat to Global Aviation from Man-Portable Air Defense Systems,” July 27, 2011, http://www.state.gov/t/pm/rls/fs/169139.htm (accessed October 4, 2012).